Sita Asur, a 50-year-old resident of Sakhua Path, hesitatingly talked about the hardships the local undergo. They have no drinking water, hardly anyone has benefited from the government housing scheme and healthcare constitutes the biggest challenge for the Path residents. Says Sita, whose name has been changed for security reasons, “For any disease, the patient has to be carried 50–60 km away to Bishunpur block. Sometimes, they die on the way. Often, after reaching Bishunpur, one is referred to Gumla (district headquarter), and from there to Ranchi.” Last year, for instance, Rakesh Asur was bitten by a snake and died on his way to hospital.
Around 200 km away from Ranchi, the Asur Adivasis living on top of the remote mountains across the villages, such as Sakhuapani, Jobhi Path and Polpol Path, had lost their traditional occupation of iron smelting years ago. Now, the lives of over a 1,000 Asur families living in these villages, called Paths, have been ruined by bauxite mining.