The Statesman Group recognised and rewarded five journalists from across India for their reportage and "exemplary work" on rural affairs and the environment.
Karthikeyan Hemalatha, a freelancer for Firstpost, won the first prize as part of The Statesman Rural Reporting Award while Ankita Anand of Eclectic North East won the second prize. Smita Nair, a reporter with The Indian Express, won the Cushrow Irani Prize for Environmental Reporting 2018.
Karthikeyan reported on several issues related to farmers in rural Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. During the Yavatmal farmers' death, he extensively reported on how lack of knowledge about pesticides among farmers and lack of regulation in the pesticides industry, is leading reason behind the deaths. The series on the Yavatmal deaths focussed on landless labourers and how they risked their lives for extra cash.
Over 20 farmers died died over three months in 2017 in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district, allegedly owing to a toxic pesticide they were exposed to.
Karthikeyan also reported on importance and role of woman in Indian agriculture. His report focussed on how with less men around, women farmers have not only gained more autonomy over their fields but also more burden. Of the 100 households in Diguvapalli, 200 kilometres north of Bengaluru, farmlands of 25 households are run exclusively by women. The women of Diguvapalli along with 130 of their counterparts in three panchayats — Muthyalacheruvu, Eaguvapalli, and Brahmanapalli — registered themselves as a cooperative society to form the Mahila Raithula Uthpathidharula Sangham with the Union ministry of agriculture.
In another article on women farmers fighting dual responsibility of shouldering housework and farming, Karthikeyan reported on how women in a Tamil Nadu village near Dharmapuri don't need men for farming. They work 18 hours a day, carry the dual burden of food security and agriculture. Their roles are often ignored, they are denied land rights and yet forced to be the only ones worried about the food security of their children.
Updated Date: Sep 17, 2018 13:17 PM