To be very honest, Durgapur is not a city with many attractions. It is situated in West Bengal – a state in the eastern part of India. Being an industrial town with lot of manufacturing units, it can serve as a perfect model of how an industrial town should be. It has chimneys pouring dark smokes from factories, which is not quite a sight that people are looking for nowadays. It has been into existence as a town for merely six decades – not something to boast of in terms of ‘rich heritage and culture’. It has quite a lowly standard of living, the money is in the hands of a small segment of supermarket going people and the city is heavily polluted.
Lot of negative things, isn’t it? Probably you have started thinking I am some sort of an activist with a vision to revolutionize Durgapur. I can assure you that I am nowhere near to it and I don’t even have any remote intention to be one. I only have one agenda – to tell news channels loud and clear that they can’t afford to ignore Durgapur any more. I have my own reasons to make that rightful demand and I will state them shortly. If you have some acquaintance with this city, then you will be able to agree with me on some of the occasions. Even if you have no clue of what Durgapur is all about, you can Google it and get started.
First of all, Durgapur is one of the most polluted cities in West Bengal and perhaps in India. The major sources of pollution are the factories and the vehicles. People’s lungs are stuffed with dark, poisonous smoke throughout the year, every single day. But what has been the bane for the health of the people is the primary source of their income. Yes, people of Durgapur are dependent on these heavy industries for their jobs. Many of them are directly employed in the factories and a lot more in number are earning their livelihood by being self-employed. But the economy of Durgapur is primarily dependent on a variety of nationalized and private manufacturing units of fundamental importance in modern human lives. A lot of what is made in these factories are used by people all over the country and also outside of it. However, we cannot discount the fact that these industries do not use advanced pollution control mechanisms that are necessary to keep the people of the city healthy. The concentration of factories in such a mid-sized city is fairly high, causing a compounding effect on the pollution levels. Media being the torch-bearer of a conscious, progressive society in a democracy like ours, must play an active role to push for the sincere implementation of the directives so that the pollution levels can be kept in check and yet the growth of more number of industries encouraged.
The second point of importance is the geographical location of Durgapur and its strategic advantage in the political landscape. It is historically a part of the extension of the Chotanagpur plateau region that covers Bihar, Jharkhand and western parts of West Bengal. It has on its west places that are rich in coal and mineral deposits of excellent quality. It also serves as the middle point between Kolkata and states to the west of it. Recently, it has also been declared as a ‘smart city’ by the Government of India, which has further added to its importance in the political arena. Durgapur is emerging as a mini metropolitan city with the confluence of people from all over India. They come to the city for their jobs, education and health checkups. Naturally, a lot of events and incidents keep on happening inside the city, some which are potent enough to be media sensations.
But sadly, in spite of having so much to offer, Durgapur has not got the attention of the media it so richly deserves. Often the journalists borrows or buys pictures shot by some random photographer in Durgapur and tries to make a scoop out of it, without making any effort to be present there or deploy staff of the agency. This can and is working on an ad-hoc basis, but it fails to capture all that this city has to offer. Bustling markets, loud factories, world-class colleges, state-of-the-art hospitals, booming service sector, fast growing middle class, lecherous and honest politicians, lousy goons – the city has it all. It can and will play a very important role to shape the destiny of the eastern parts of India in the very near future. But to accentuate that, the residents of the city demands that every national and regional news agency should deploy at least a part-time journalist and photographer in Durgapur to accompany, so that they can reach the right spot at the right time and cover the news.