The pursuance of ventured philanthropy for inclusive growth of stakeholders has been the driving force at BALCO. Implementing need based projects for improving quality of life of the people in operational areas through substantial investments brought discernable improvement in Education, Health and Livelihood conditions.
Recognising the importance of health and physical well being in all round development, BALCO has always accorded priority to healthcare initiatives in its Community Development Programmes. Various healthcare initiatives that are being implemented by the Company are:
Vedanta Rural Health Centre
The ‘Vedanta Rural Health Centre’ has been established by BALCO to cater to the medical needs of the villagers residing in remote tribal areas. The Health Centre provides affordable and easily accessible quality health services. This facility is linked with the District Hospital to conduct immunisation camps arranged for mother and children. Besides servicing health, the Centre has also become a nodal centre for spreading awareness on community health issues.
BALCO organises Cataract Surgery Camps every year in collaboration with District Blindness Control Society for aging people with poor eyesight. Free cataract operations are carried out with BALCO taking care of all the transportation, food and lodging needs of patients. In four years, eyesight of 3605 elderly people has been restored through camps.
Jaipur Foot Camp
Mainstreaming physically challenged has always been accorded priority under Health Initiatives. BALCO organises Jaipur Foot Camp every year in partnership with Shri Vinay Mitra Mandal from Raipur and provides light-weight artificial limb made of Aluminium to people who suffer from lower limb amputation.
Immunisation of children on National Immunisation Days (NID) is a key component in the Company’s health initiatives every year. All children below five years come under this specific drive carried out by the BALCO Hospital. The field coordinators from the CSR Department help in mobilising the community to bring children at Polio Immunisation Booths.
Mobile Health Van
BALCO operates mobile medical vans for the benefit of villagers living in remote areas. This facility includes free medical advice and disbursement of medicine. The van operates in identified villages on roster basis. The schedule is pre-determined and prior intimation is given to villagers so that they can avail the facility in time.
Availability of potable water has always been a concern in the region. Safe water is scarce and villagers rely on few functional hand pumps. Even instances have been observed where villagers have to cover long distance to fetch water. BALCO, in association with Local Panchayats, has installed Tank and Taps to supply water in villages. This has given immense relief to villagers who are now fetching water through taps installed near their houses.
Project Jagriti - Fighting against HIV/AIDS
Aligning business with its Millennium Development Goal, BALCO is spreading awareness on HIV/AIDS among stakeholders through its Project ‘Jagriti’. To have deeper impact and wider reach, BALCO has partnered with other agencies working on HIV/AIDS like District AIDS Control Society (DACS), CARE India, Truckers Association and Hindustan Latex Limited. The Chhattisgarh State AIDS Control Society (CGSACS) has awarded BALCO for its efforts in creating HIV/AIDS awareness. The initiatives include:
- Creating awareness among people through Camps, Workshops and ‘Health Mela’.
- Organising blood-testing camps every month for employees as well as villagers in different locations.
- Installation of condom vending machines at strategic locations for the promotion of condom use.
- BALCO has prepared an HIV/AIDS guideline to support the initiative.
Project ‘Mamta’ – Mother and Child Care Initiative
BALCO has intervened in 537 identified Anganbari Centres spread across 417 villages in 3 districts of Chhattisgarh State in partnership with the District Women and Child Development Department. The project aims to reduce the Infant and Mother Mortality Rate and mal-nourishment cases among children. To this end:
- A district level committee has been formed under the chairmanship of Collectors of respective districts to monitor the progress of the project.
- Capacity building programmes of village health workers, ANM, midwives and Anganbari workers are organised to inculcate safe and hygienic delivery practices and prenatal and postnatal care.
- To generate mass awareness, healthy baby shows, street plays and traditional folk dances are organised in the villages.
- To motivate children to come to Anganbari Centres for food supplements and pre-school education, an enabling environment has been created through infrastructure renovation, induction of dress code and use of toys for fun learning.
Total Sanitation Campaign
Recognising the severity of problems related to sanitation, BALCO has started a total sanitation programme and constructed 1050 toilets in six villages of Korba, Mainpat and Kawardha. The practice of open defecation in this region is a serous threat not only to public health but also to the environment. To curb the practice, each household and school has been equipped with proper toilet facilities. The three Panchayats covering the six villages have been awarded the prestigious President's Nirmal Gram Award in the year 2006-07.
Cancer Project – Hub and Spoke model
Cancer has been a major health peril for quite some time, but unfortunately, remote rural areas still do not have access to proper treatment of the disease. Recognising the magnitude of the problem, the Vedanta Cancer Project has been initiated in Chhattisgarh under the aegis of Vedanta Medical Research Foundation (VMRF). A few specific initiatives under this project have been discussed below.
- Construction of a 350 bedded Cancer Research and Development Hospital is going on at Raipur.
- The Hospital is complemented by tertiary centres in three districts and six mobile cancer detection vans.
- The vans are fully equipped with ultra modern instruments to screen out suspected patients from remote villages.
- A trained cadre of field investigators works in identified areas to spread community awareness, through interpersonal communication and through specifically designed literature/graphics.
- Three camps are organised in pre-identified villages on a monthly basis.
- The identified cases are referred to the BALCO Hospital (a temporary arrangement till the hospital comes in Raipur) for surgery. Biopsy and other reports of the tests are conveyed to the respective Field Investigators for further follow-up.
Mid Day Meal Kitchen
Under a tripartite partnership with District Administration and ‘Naandi Foundation’ (a Hyderabad based NGO), BALCO has constructed a centralised hi-tech mid-day meal kitchen at Korba to serve hygienic and nutritious food to school children. This initiative covers 264 schools in rural as well as in urban areas and has within its fold about 40000 children from primary and middle schools in a radius of 25 kms.
The advancement of Education is one of the most important dimensions in a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility endeavours. Realising the fact that education holds the potential for unleashing the biggest positive change in its areas of operation, BALCO has launched a comprehensive programme that incorporates several worthy initiatives.
Child Care Centres
BALCO operates Child Care Centres in association with Vedanta Foundation in operational villages. These centres provide pre-school education through the play route method and aims to combat malnutrition among children by serving hygienic and nutritious food three times a day. Routine medical checkups are carried out to monitor children’s health.
Sahayak Shiksha Kendra
A prime concern for BALCO in remote mines areas is to curb the school drop-out rate and bring back children to mainstream education. The Company operates ‘Sahayak Shiksha Kendra’ in the Mainpat Mines area. Each Kendra coaches 30 to 35 students focusing on their weak subjects. BALCO provides all support to these children right from creating a congenial learning environment to providing books and stationeries.
Project ‘Unnayan’, School Upgradation
This specific BALCO intervention in the schools situated in its operational area, aimed at improving their learning environment. The needs are assessed and then addressed effectively with a major thrust on infrastructure development and renovation of the buildings. Sanitation facilities have been improved and stages are constructed for cultural performance. In order to nurture talent, books for libraries and sports material are provided to promote extra curricular activities among children.
BALCO has instituted the ‘Utkarsh’ Scholarship to create opportunity for aspiring engineers from deprived sections of society. The merit-cum-means scholarship covers students pursuing engineering courses from the IITs, NITS, BITS-Pilani and IISC Bangalore. Meeting academic and other related expenses, this has benefited 43 students so far.
For details on Utkarsh Scholarship scheme please click here
Lack of proper infrastructure happens to be a major handicap to socio-economic development in rural India till date. To raise the quality of life for the villagers, BALCO provides necessary infrastructural facilities that result in significant improvement in living environment in the villages. The specific initiatives are:
- BACLO has constructed Community Buildings in its operational areas. The buildings are being used for community events, medical camps, community meetings, awareness drives etc.
- In partnership with NABARD and local Panchayat, BALCO has constructed ‘Rural Haats’. The developed infrastructure has on one hand facilitated tax inflow to Panchayats and on the other hand has been a great convenience for village sellers and buyers.
- To augment better agriculture produce, irrigation bore wells have been installed in the operational areas.
- BALCO has constructed concrete approach roads that have made even remote villages accessible.
Economic self-sufficiency is in many ways the first step in attaining social sustainability. To that end BALCO has always focused on building capabilities, creating opportunities and encouraging an environment favourable for enterprise development and income generation. The Company has taken up a number of programmes to improve the lives of the underprivileged, which are:
To enhance the economic condition of the tribal women in its areas of operation, BALCO, in association with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), has formed 151 SHGs in villages. The members of these groups are trained on different enterprise development skills like goatery, pickle making, papad making, vermicompost manufacture, leaf bowl making, vegetable cultivation, nursery development, wooden craft work, sewing etc. to earn their share of livelihood.
To generate livelihood avenues for tribal families and reduce their dependency on forest, BALCO initiated project ‘Wadi’ in association with NABARD at Kawardha. The project focuses on Orchard Development and covers 500 tribal families within its scope. The initiative helps in cultivating barren and fallow land to generate additional income and long term return for marginalised farmers.
In villages around the BALCO facilities, undulated terrain and low water retention capacity of the soil are major reasons that lead to low agricultural yield. For sustainable socio-economic development of the villagers and optimum utilisation of available land and water resources, BALCO, in association with NABARD, is implementing a Watershed Development Project across 1000 hectares of land. The watershed area will benefit a population of 2500 in four villages.
Promotion of Non-conventional Source of Energy - Bio-gas
Leaving Ecological Footprints in remote tribal areas using local resources, BALCO is constructing Bio-Gas Plants in association with Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Authority (CREDA). Bio-Gas Plant has reduced the dependency of villagers on forest firewood and has made available an environment friendly all season cooking gas. Till now, BALCO has constructed 269 bio-gas units in its operational villages.