Blood Diamonds: The Grim Fate of Miners in Panna’s Diamond Industry – by Akansha Deshmukh ( – April 23, 2023)

Panna district, renowned for its diamond mines and dubbed ‘Heera Nagri’ (city of diamonds) by many, belies its affluent reputation upon closer inspection.

Despite its population of over a million individuals spanning 9 tehsils and 1033 villages according to the 2011 census, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj listed Panna among the 250 most underdeveloped districts in India.

Panna ranks a dismal 41st out of 45 districts in Madhya Pradesh’s human development index (HDI). It is also among its five poorest districts, receiving funding from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF), which allocates funds to districts facing significant obstacles to progress.

The stark discrepancy between Panna’s diamond-rich reputation and its actual state of affairs suggests a flawed narrative of development that demands scrutiny. The rampant practice of stone mining has led to the employment of a large number of undernourished tribal workers in 106 mines.

Forgotten Victims Of Silicosis

However, the consequences of this employment are dire as many of the workers contract silicosis, a fatal lung disease caused by inhaling dust containing crystalline silica, and die a slow and painful death. Unfortunately, the situation is compounded by a lack of data, diagnostic facilities, making compensation an uphill battle for the affected.

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