Anubrotto Kumar Roy popularly known as Dunu Roy obtained a B.Tech in the year 1967 and an M.Tech. in the year 1969 from the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Bombay. He is also the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Bombay in the year 2000.
Dunu Roy devoted over four decades in the field of rural development. A chemical engineer, he provided technical expertise to rural communities, carried out prolonged experiment in environmental planning and now provides succor to those who became victims of Delhi’s hazardous life. Even while at IIT, Dunu and a group of fellow-students were engaged in trying to assess how their knowledge could help in solving problems of the poor.
He runs an institution with likeminded persons and the organization itself has been named the “Hazard Centre”. The institute’s core team comprises ten dedicated researchers and as many as 50 professionals, some of them well-known in their fields. They provide free service to the victims and needy and hail from such diverse disciplines as public health, environment impact, pollution control and urban architecture.
Dunu Roy says life in Delhi and other big cities is hazardous indeed but the problems could be overcome if there is determination and commitment. The Hazard Centre tries to help youngsters to tide over the admission problems by acquainting them with procedures, rules, other nitty-gritty and counsels them to resist unfair means whereby the undeserving supersede the deserving.
There have been legal hazards too whose magnitude is more serious than getting admission in schools and colleges. Certain legal verdicts have debarred people, who have come to Delhi after 1990, for resettlement in new colonies built for squatters better known as “jhuggi-jhopri walas”. According to a study made by the Hazard Centre, there are about three lakh families in Delhi who have no place to live. The Centre strives hard to provide them shelter. Hazard Centre has given the plan and the design to the Metropolitan Council of Delhi (MCD) suggesting separate path for cyclists and pedestrians together with other changes.
The Hazard Centre had also done lot of work among domestic help, contract workers and rag pickers. Dunu Roy has been working on a project to providing alternative avocation to domestic work. He found that many of them were skilled workers in repairing electrical equipment, wooden items, plumbing and other technical work. His attempt is to help them earn their livelihood. Water pollution is yet another hazard of Delhi’s civic life and Dunu Roy and his team has waged a relentless battle to ensure potable water to people.
Dunu Roy gave up his career as chemical engineer as temperamentally he could not be tied down to long office hours and the challenges outside beckoned him. Initially he had done lot of work in tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh covering such areas as environmental planning and imparting education at mass level. Initially they started work in villages near Bombay. Dunu’s major contribution came in his work at Shahdol, M.P. He first went to Shahdol as a part of a team of students from IIT Bombay and IIT Kanpur to study the impacts of the paper mill located at Amlai near Shahdol. He shifted to a small town called Annupur and started a small motor repairing workshop as a way of getting to meet the local people. This workshop metamorphosed into the ‘Vidushak Karkhana’. One of the most significant studies carried out by the Group was the regional environmental planning study, which actually was a study encompassing the history, resource base, culture etc. of the area, and evolved a development plan based on this. The Shahdol Group emerged as a major centre of intellectual though on these issues, and became a centre attracting visitors-students, academics, activists, journalists-not only from all over India, But also from all over the world. It is a centre which broke new ground and treads new paths, setting in motion innovative methods of intellectual inquiry and social activism, and has become an important landmark in the history of the social, environmental, people oriented movements in India. Even today, the Vidushak Karkhana is active, and Dunu continues to guide it.
The challenges before him now are manifold and of gigantic magnitude but he is not the one to give up. Even if a part of the work he has undertaken yields result, it will be a big leap forward in service to the community.
President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam speaking at the valedictory session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas–2005 in Mumbai praised the work being done by Dunu Roy.
The Satyendra K Dubey Memorial award is conferred upon Mr Dunu Roy for outstanding work in rural development and spreading environmental awareness.