Savita Rath is a social worker and environmental activist based in Raigarh District of the Central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. Since more than two decades, she has extensively worked on upliftment of women in village areas impacted by untold industrialization including coal mines and washeries, steel, sponge iron, and power plants, deforestation, river pollution, and rights of communities living in forests.

 

She has a keen sense of the degradation of the environment and societal fabric in this region, due to unregulated and often, illegal establishment and operation of industries. As a member of Jan Chetna, an organization working on environmental justice in Raigarh, she has developed various strategies to work with communities to hold big industries accountable under the law including spreading legal awareness of crucial laws including the Forest Rights Act, 2006, helping women organize among themselves and become more digitally literate, helping gather paper and photographic evidence trails to show how big industries operate illegally, and taking issues ranging from destruction of farmland by flyash, and pollution of the Kelo and Mand rivers. 

Her organization Jan Chetna, brought India's fourth Goldman Award home, in 2014, and helped obtain critical judgments from the judiciary concerning (a) standing of persons in environmental matters, the need for public hearings, and requirement of executive to take reasoned decisions, (b) the forum where an environmental issue can be raised, and (c) the limitation period within which a permit can be challenged in court. 

She regularly participates in public hearing proceedings organized by the government of Chhattisgarh, to raise serious environmental and social issues with various projects and activities. 

Know more about our work with Jan Chetna.