Case Studies

The CSR initiatives implemented by BALCO in its areas of operation have touched the lives of thousands of people in a positive way. Whether it is the Watershed Project at Paraskhola or the Vedanta Rural Health Centre in Chuiya Village, the Company's programmes and projects are aimed to achieve sustainable development for people in the region. Discussed below are a few examples of how BALCO's endeavours have helped transform the lives of several individuals and also strengthened the sense of well-being for the entire community.

Vedanta Rural Health Centre

BALCO has established Vedanta Rural Health Centre in Chuiya Village to provide Primary Health Services to the people of surrounding villages. The Centre provides medicine, treatment and general diagnostic facilities to the villagers. The Health Centre is also linked with the Government Immunisation Programme under which weekly vaccination drives are carried out for infants and pregnant as well as lactating mothers.

Mohan Singh, 29, from Bhatgaon Village, belongs to the Korwa tribe, one of the primitive tribes of India. He visits Vedanta Rural Health Centre whenever any of his family members falls sick and also advises others to do the same.

He persuades people of his village not to depend on domestic treatment or quacks for any illness. Just few months back, Mohan’s one and a half year old son Rajendra, had been suffering from severe ear problem due to presence of purulent fluid in the left ear. Mohan, like any other tribal, had tried traditional treatment for the disease. But the situation did not improve. One day he came in contact with one of BALCO’s cluster coordinator who informed him about the Vedanta Rural Health Centre where diseases are treated at a very nominal registration charge of Rs. 5. However, despite counselling, Mohan was hesitant to go for his son’s treatment in the Centre because of his traditional social taboos. But the cluster coordinator’s consistent efforts finally convinced Mohan and he agreed to take his son to the Vedanta Rural Health Centre for treatment. A thorough examination by the Doctor helped diagnose the problem. Mohan was then briefed about the expected repercussions in the delay of treatment. After two weeks of continuous treatment, his son was fully cured. Mohan and his wife showed their gratitude towards BALCO - “Vedanta Rural Health Centre has saved my son from being deaf. I will lifelong be grateful to BALCO for support”.

Child Care Centre

Vikas Sharma, age 6, a student of first standard of an English medium school, is a typical restless but bright young boy who always comes in the top-ten list in his class. He is the only child of Satish Sharma and his wife, residents of Jambahar village, both working as daily wage earners in the nearby plant. For Satish Sharma, sending his son to an English medium school was a distant dream but Vikas‘ inclination towards study drove him to earn more and get his son enrolled in a good school.

About three years back, Vikas used to accompany his parents to the work site, as there was no one back home to look after him. At the work site he used to roam around when his parents were occupied with work. Satish and his wife both were uneducated and could not afford the expenses of school. One day, during a survey, a teacher of Jambahar Child Care Centre met Satish and told him about BALCO’s established child care facility where children (aged 3 to 5 years) are not only looked after while their parents are engaged in work but simultaneously provided education in an informal way. Besides, nutritious food is also given to the children. After listening to the teacher, Satish agreed to enroll his son in the Child Care Centre, where Vikas proved his academic potential. After completion of two years in the Centre, Vikas took the entrance exam of MGM School, where he fetched 1st division marks. Today Vikas is a favourite student of teachers while his favourite subjects are Maths, English and Art. He enjoys all kinds of sports, especially running. Vikas' ambition is to become a doctor and Satish believes that his son will definitely achieve it.

Watershed Development Project

The Village of Parsakhola is located deep inside the forest, about 30 km away from Korba. The Village is inhabited by tribals and is surrounded by thick forest and small hillocks. The villagers have to walk at least 15 km to visit the nearest Primary Health Centre and 5 km to reach the Middle School. The population of the Village is merely around 219 people, out of which more than 95 percent are tribal.

Most of the villagers depend on forests and agriculture for their livelihood. However, excessive dependence on forest and frequent rain failures have rendered the balance between livelihood and social well-being precarious. Situated in the foothills, the fertility of land gradually deteriorated owing to heavy silt coming along with run off water from precipitation. Farmers started looking for other options beyond agriculture for their sustenance. Therefore the major occupation in the region involved covering long distances to work as daily labour and getting few days employment under NREGA.

In 2008, BALCO increased outreach for community development initiatives and village Parshakhola was also selected. While consulting with community, it was discovered that the village was very appropriate for Watershed Management Programme. Seeking expertise of NABARD, BALCO implemented the Watershed Development Project jointly in the village. Initially the entire resources of the village were mapped in consultation with local people.

How the Villagers benefit from the project

Jagat Rathiya, a marginal farmer of this village, says that he owned two acres of land at the foothill but due to the existing problem and the slant topography, he was not able to cultivate it. After construction of pond, the intrusion of sand and silt has stopped and moisture of the soil has increased. Now he is able to take double crop of paddy from the same field, which earlier was considered fallow.

And almost all the villagers have same story to tell.

The villagers have now started to cultivate different types of pulses, which require more water. Previously only few villagers used to cultivate yellow lentil and that too only for self-consumption. Now, some of them are also selling it in the market and making good money. The training provided to practice sustainable agriculture and use of bio-fertilizers have helped the villagers to ‘go green’. Bajrang Rathiya, President of Village Watershed Committee is very confident and according to his statement – “Migration in search of daily wage labour to neighbouring districts have stopped over the last few years. If we continue successfully in this vein, a few years from now our village will be an example in the entire district”.

Project Highlights

A village map was drawn depicting the water catchment area, rivulets and command areas. The mostly abandoned land, worst affected due to heavy deposit of silt, were identified.

The project was implemented after completing the Net Planning.

The gullies were plugged to check soil erosion and ‘bund’ created to help increase the fertility of the land.

Plantation initiatives were carried out in the area of heavy erosion.

Continuous contour trenches were dug to check the velocity of running water from hilly areas.

A pond was constructed by ‘shramdaan’ at the foot of the hill, which not only checked the sand and slit carried down by running water but also harvested the run off water coming down from the hill.

Water absorbent trenches built adjacent to the fields started holding run off water and increased the ground water table.