‘An Unequal Fight’ tracks one of India’s oldest environmental cases involving pollution by bulk drug manufacturing industries in Patancheru and Bollaram area in Telangana. The Supreme Court of India, and later the National Green Tribunal, have passed countless directions to restore the environment in this region and to make polluters pay for the damage wreaked on people’s lives. Despite these interventions, pollution levels remain unabated and people of the region continue to suffer with no end in sight to their misery. This film undertakes an on-ground investigation to test the limits of the court’s power, the regulatory architecture and the polluter pays principle as it traces the history of the four-decades-old legal battle that has been waged by the residents of Patancheru-Bollaram since the 1980s for their right to clean water.
This is the second of five short documentaries, produced by Vidhi and Riverbank Studios, on key environmental issues in India. The documentaries and the case briefs are the culmination of a year-long research project tracking landmark judgments and orders of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal, on a wide range of issues and across different geographies- the firecrackers ban, pollution in Patancheru, Telangana, dams in Uttarakhand, waste management in Delhi and wildlife corridors around Kaziranga National Park. Read more about the project here.