Red Ink award

URMI BHATTACHARJEE bags prestigious Red Ink award for excellence in Journalism

 

Guwahati-based journalist Urmi Bhattacharjee has won this year’s Prestigious Red Ink Awards for Excellence in Journalism 2014 on June 7 at Mumbai ,Maharastra. This award is organized every year by the Mumbai Press Club.

 

Urmi Bhattacharjee is a Journalist working with ND TV in its Northeast India bureau located at Guwahati and is also a regular contributor for the world famous infotainment website Yahoo and writes extensively for Yahoo.

 

Her investigative story in Yahoo Originals, titled: Inside Kaziranga’s One-Horned Dream, dated: Mon 7 Oct, 2013, has won the prestigious award as Joint Runner UP under the ‘HUMAN RIGHTS & ENVIRONMENT’ Category.

 

A Red Ink trophy along with citation was awarded to Urmi Bhatttacharjee on June 7 in a glittering ceremony held at NCPA’s Jamshed Baba Theatre, at Nariman Point, Mumbai.by Union Information and Broadcasting Minsiter Prakash Javdekar.

 

The story: Inside Kaziranga’s One-Horned Dream, deal with the burning issue incessant poaching of the world famous One-horn Rhinos of Kaziranga national park in Assam. A rhino has been poached almost every week this year in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. Crores have been allotted to anti-poaching measures. So why the poachers are still multiplying and prospering? Urmi Bhattacharjee tried to find out the answer to this crucial question in her story by trying to find out what happened to the infamous Rhino poacher Bogendra in Kaziranga, the protagonist in the award winning story.

 

In her own words the Journalist describes the story:

“I have been regularly writing on the wildlife in the national parks of Assam and more particularly the rhinos for more than three years.

The notorious poacher Bogendra had always caught my attention . I was taken by surprise each time I came to know that he fled. His escape clearly gave clues to the loopholes in arrest and punishment of wildlife criminals.

Like Bogendra, there were several poachers hovering around, and a faulty system that couldn’t do anything to catch them.

Sansar Chand   believed to be India’s biggest wildlife criminal who has been responsible for more tiger and leopard deaths than anyone else died on March last year due to cancer.

He was undergoing trial on charges of killing several tigers in Rajasthan’s Sariska Tiger Reserve. Soon after, I had decided to highlight Bogendra and his active rhino killing and his simultaneous escape.

During the course of my reporting, my focus was to know straight from the horse’s mouth that what prompt them to continue poaching. Upon speaking to the poachers there, I was surprised to know that many wanted to give up since they suffered from a guilty conscience. There showed the failure of the forest department to help these poachers by psychological counseling, providing jobs and persuade them to surrender .

Even as I write today, the notorious Bogendra has fled from Jorhat about a month ago. And all sources are clueless about his whereabouts. Some even suspect that he his dead.

Millitants involvement and illegal migrants have further put the park security at stake.

I am happy that this story of mine got selected by the Mumbai Press club for the prestigious red ink award. In a way I am glad that, these heinous crimes from the lesser reported northeast India, has been brought to light.

Urmi Bhattacharjee was the CSE Media Fellowship on Environment reporting in 2012. She was also a Consultant with with International Rivers, the California based water advocacy NGO and was responsible for a pioneering study on dam-sanctioning process in India and the impact assessment in the bio-diverse hotspot of North-East India. It mapped the conflict of building dams in an environmentally sensitive zone.

Before joining ND TV Urmi Bhattacharjee has worked as the Web Editor of TNT –The Northeast Today, Sever Sisters Post.

Earlier Urmi Bhattacharjee was based at New Delhi and has worked for the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and English TV News Channel NewsX.