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What It Is Like To Live In A Village With Many Brick Kilns

In today’s world every person dreams of having a beautiful home. From a nice white porch to an aesthetically functional kitchen, people spend their life’s savings on realizing this dream. However, everything comes at a price and behind the realization of a beautiful home and city, lies the ugly truth of brick kilns that provide the building material. Brick kilns are places where earth is baked to form the red bricks. The kilns work constantly all year round to keep up with the demand in urban housing as well as in road and infrastructure building. Yet, it is the villages where these kilns exist, that people suffer in the name of development.

A brick kiln in my village. There are about a dozen more such kilns that dot the landscape

This article is about my own experience of living in a village that has many brick kilns. These factories were started before I was born and have continued to change the landscape and lives of the people.

I am an indigenous person of Tripura and I belong to the South Maharani panchayat which is in the Gomati District. In this area, there are 10 to 15 brick factories spread across twelve villages. They impact our lives in two primary ways. First, the bulldozers from the factories keep clawing at the small hills dotting the place to collect earth for the ever-hungry kiln. This trend has led to a change in the geography of the region as many hills have been levelled. Second, the villages get covered in dust from the excavation as well as the smoke from the kilns.

As per my observation brick factories usually collect the soil in winters (November to April). The people of the factory approach the villagers who are in need of money and buy the soil from their property. As the trucks keep fetching this soil on the kaccha road, the area gets covered in dust. My own house, situated on the side of the road, faces this problem every year. Our courtyard and our house gets covered in a layer of white dust. On days where there is too much of it, we develop cough and shortness of breath.

There are several other concerns that are not related to just my life but are matters that are global in nature. Brick factories produce a lot of ash that damages the air around it. It causes pollution and health problems. As with any industry, establishing a brick kiln requires deforestation. Many trees were cut down to make way for the factories to emerge. As we are all aware, we are together in facing the challenges of global warming. Villages, where land is cheap, is the favoured places for the coming up of industries and which suffer due to it. Through this article I would like to send a small message to everyone: Let's clean our environment and surrounding and save this earth from global warming and climate changes.

This article has been created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.


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