The Statesman and CR Irani Foundation conferred the Cushrow Irani Prize for Environmental Reporting 2018 to Namrata Acharya, assistant editor at Business Standard, at a ceremony in Kolkata on September 16, 2019.
She received the award consisting of a citation and memento, along with a cash award of Rs 25,000 from social activist Threety Irani.
Acharya won the award for her coverage of the ordeals faced by thousands of villagers in West Bengal's Sunderban Forest Reserve. The region's inhabitants are prone to attacks by tigers as they go about trying to earn a living in a harsh terrain that does not support agriculture. Most villagers are forced to enter the forest to catch crabs and collect honey.
The citation says Acharya's article "brings to the fore the financial compulsions that drive people to wage a daily battle against wildlife and the environment.
In 1979, The Statesman instituted three prizes for excellence in rural reporting to encourage a better awareness of the social, political and economic challenges taking place in villages. In 2011, along with the The CR Irani Foundation, it instituted an annual prize for environmental reporting in honour of Cushrow R Irani, the former managing director and editor of The Statesman.