Aster Volunteers have been supporting the health requirements of the needy . The picture is just an example of helping the target group.

Empowering one and all


With a mission to inspire and nurture, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), has been giving a boost to development. From skilling farmers to providing livelihood means, there is no stopping this powerhouse
With three decades as India’s central power transmission entity, POWERGRID acquired the status of Maharatna in October 2019. Established on October 23, 1989, the Gurugram-based company is playing a significant role in development of communities. The CSR interventions have transformed the lives of many around its establishments. The company has community development schemes related to health, education, drinking water, infrastructure such as roads and community centres and more.

In Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the work done at Kapaleeshwarar Temple is an example of the 'Green Temple' initiative
of ITC's Social Investments Programme along with several other waste management projects, but tailored to local situations,
like promotion of composting from the waster (flowers and leaves and other bio perishable offerings) generated in temples.

a pearl millet farmer tends his harvest

Integrated Watershed Management

With a three-pronged approach, POWERGRID has undertaken establishment of ‘Model Sites of Learning’ in Kudgi, Karnataka, and Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh. The farmer-centric programme is a five-year plan. It began in 2013-14 with the objectives of harnessing the potential of rainfed areas by adopting integrated water source management approach; enhancing water availability for diversifying livelihoods and capacity building training for farmers.

K.J. Praveen Kumar, Chief Manager-HR, Andhra Pradesh, POWERGRID, says, “Spread across 6,850 hectares, this project covers 10 villages under Bethamcherla Mandal in Kurnool district. The programme is in partnership with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and a NGO named Rural Studies and Development.”
On the role of ICRISAT, Senior Scientific Officer B. Nagaraju explains, “Continuous knowledge-sharing has brought a shift in the farmers’ mindsets. They now use the scientific methods for cultivation and have seen an increase in yields and profits. Even the wary ones have come forward. ICRISAT provides modified seeds which are disease-resistant and need less water. The project has been extended for another year and registered an increase of 10-30 per cent in the yield, impacting 20,000 farmers.” The NGO pays attention to the issues that the villagers face, says C. Vijayadu, the man behind Rural Studies and Development.

The Shivalik Nagar area near Haridwar, a CSR (ITC)-supported Solid Waste Management (SWM) initiative, to convert segregated
wet products at source into compost and solid waste for scrap.

A woman staffer watering plants at the ICRISAT plot, Bugganapalli village

To stop soil erosion, ICRISAT recommended big percolation tanks or rainwater harvesting tanks, Loose Boulder Structures (LBS), Rock Filled Dams (RFD) and Small Farm Ponds. These transformed the landscape, as flora and fauna flourish now. All the 10 villages have 130-140 ponds with cemented boundaries. Another 40 farm ponds are proposed. Water troughs for cattle and vermi-compost pits have also been built.
The village Muddavaram got its first bund in 2017. The structure prevented erosion of top soil during rains and flooding of the farms in the neighbourhood. Residents Ramesh, Elaswamy, Maddya Naidu, G. Ramesh and Nagasheshalu, happily, say, “This has solved the summer irrigation crisis as almost 500 acres get this water in dry months too. The ground water level has increased and we don’t need deep borewells. The cattle also have drinking water now.” The neighbouring villages too have requested for such water bodies. The gram panchayat is looking at starting pisciculture.

ICRISAT has a nursery around Bugganapalli village, on a plot provided by the Department of Forest. Nitrogen-rich Gliricidia sepium trees and pigeon pea are grown here, and given free of cost to the villagers

collect water from the large rain harvesting pond in Marrikunta village

Shepherds collect water from the large rain harvesting pond in Marrikunta village

G. Chinnamadaya, a farmer in the same village, now cultivates onion, pigeon pea and vegetables using seeds provided by ICRISAT. He was even given a farm pond. “Around 10 labourers work on daily wages for Rs 200. During the harvesting season, the wages go up to Rs 300 per day,” he says.
Vikram Yadav, Chinnamadaya’s son, who is doing his graduation from the open university, says that the bund has helped increase the soil’s moisture content and the water table, which makes digging borewells easier and less expensive.

The village has more stories. The colourful bylanes lead to the home of 46-year-old Padmavati. Treasurer with a SHG, she has been earning Rs 3,000-4,000 per month, thanks to the photocopy machine provided by POWERGRID. “My income increases during exam and admission times,” smiles the homely lady, who was left a widow early in life. Other SHGs have been given goats and are collectively earning Rs 30,000 per month.

Nagalaxmi, with a small farm, has nurtured a kitchen garden in the vacant plot around her humble home. She grows brinjal, lady’s fingers, spinach, beans. “The produce suffices for household needs and the excess is sold. The seeds have been provided by ICRISAT and I shall soon be growing more vegetables and fruits.”

With a medium farm holding of seven acres, Peddanand owns a mango orchard, cultivates pigeon pea and groundnut and grows vegetables around his farm pond now.

Each village in the area has seen a radical change. Green fields stretch over the rolling hills in the region around Bugganapalli village. ICRISAT has a nursery here, on a plot provided by the Department of Forest. Nitrogen-rich Gliricidia sepium trees and pigeon pea are grown here, and given free of cost to the villagers. Ramadu has allowed the firm to build a RFD on a portion of his land. A community water pit, LBS and RFD have been built to solve the farmer’s water problems.

There are 22 farm ponds in the village of Venkatigiri. Here, foxtail millets are grown in plenty. The neighbouring Marikuntta Village has a huge rainwater harvesting pond around which Gliricidia plants are seen.

The first bund was built in 2015 in Veeraipalli village, adjacent to V. Giddiah’s land. He owns teak and other tree plantations around the bund, where water fowls swim. Mohan Reddy has a landholding of seven acres on which he has teak plantation, mango orchard, a LBS and rainwater harvesting facility. He says, “These structures have increased the fertility of my farmland and there is water the year through.”

Sumalatha’s dream of a comfortable life has come true since she got a sewing machine under SHG support. The daily wager began tailoring three years back. “My earnings have grown to Rs 300 per day. On festive occasions, it’s even better, as everyone wants good clothes.”
POWERGRID established a water treatment plant and vermicompost pit in Pendekal. Life in the easy-going village, which has a Dal Mill machine, is abuzz during harvest season. Plants that absorb toxins from water are planted in and around the treatment plant, and the treated water is reused for irrigation.

In Kurnool, six capacity building programmes were conducted during 2015-16. There has been land development of 10 SC farmers with convergence of MGNREGS. In Kudgi, the free soil analysis and fertiliser recommendations have been done. Two check dams, five farm ponds, three bore well recharge and two sunken pits have been constructed.

Samarthya, Rajnandgaon, Chhatisgarh

Samarthya means enabling and POWERGRID is enabling the lives of differently-abled children at this school. The state-ofthe- art building is barrier-free. The school-cum-hostel campus is for special children belonging to nearby regions in district Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh.

The new school has been constructed at a cost of Rs 3.26 cr. The six paintings of inspirational people, donated by eminent artist Bhim Singh, make for a wondrous entrance. Among these is actor Sudha Chandran and other inspiring people who overcame physical disabilities to become achievers.

Dr Maneesha Pandey, a special educator who recently took over the reins as Superintendent, says that even though the sanction is for 50 seats, the new facility has space for 96 students. “We have six girls and 48 boys from seven districts here. Each child’s development is charted. Every quarter, the progress is assessed as per the checklist provided by NIPED, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Primary I is for children in the age group of 7-10 years,” says Dr Pandey. There is a Primary II for older children.

Samarthya at Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh, has been constructed at a cost of Rs 3.26 crore for special children, and showcases six paintings of inspirational people, donated by eminent artist Bhim Singh

One can see the due care that has been taken, keeping in mind the physical challenges of its residents—the corridors have guiding and directional tiles running as tactile indicators. A sturdy steel railing runs along the walls. Braille plates are affixed outside each room to help students trace their destination. The institution has eight spacious classrooms and labs for occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy and group hearing.

Five workshops, OPD, audiometry room, computer room, conference rooms, library, rehabilitation rooms, eight wellkept dormitories, a staff room, a large and neat dining hall, separate toilets for boys and girls make it a premier institution for the handicapped.

Sharad Sulia, differentlyabled student with ADHD at Samarthya, a school for special children in Rajnandgaon
Sharad Sulia, differentlyabled student with ADHD at Samarthya, a school for special children in Rajnandgaon

Shiv Shanker Pandey, vocational instructor, informs that there are 13 posts for vocational instructors. The teacherstudent ratio is 1:8, enabling one-to-one interaction with the students. Depending on the time of the year, Mahender Sowani helps the children draw colourful festive drawings. Gajendra draws a beautiful peacock. Payal Marai, a tribal, rehearsed for a dance item presented on World Disability Day. A sportsperson, Omprakash plays kabbadi and cricket, while Laxman exhibits Powergrid leadership qualities. For impromptu guests, the children are always willing to dance and show their talents. And they live on in their world, undisturbed by the sounds that prevail outside.

POWERGRID safai karamchari carting waste for segregation and shredding in Deogarh

POWERGRID safai karamchari carting waste for segregation and shredding in Deogarh

Deogarh, Jharkhand

The clean pilgrim town, Baba Dham, has twice been the recipient of ‘Swachh Iconic Award’ from the central government under the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. But this wasn’t the case till 2017. Deogarh or Baba Dham, as it is popularly known locally in Jharkhand and Bihar, was fraught with hygiene issues. The temple waste was dumped on the roadside, exposing people to severe health hazards and accidents.

In November 2017, POWERGRID joined hands with the local administration to clean up the filth and temple premises at Baba Dham, Deogarh. Compost machines and shredders were installed and infrastructure established

Clean drives
continue throughout the day at Baba Dham

Clean drives continue throughout the day at Baba Dham

In November 2017, POWERGRID joined hands with the local administration to clean up this filth and the temple premises. The task was given to a Delhi-based NGO, Akanksha Enterprise. The NGO has also taken up a sanitation drive in the famous Vaishno Devi Temple, Katra. They had to clean the Ganga Sagar lake too, which is used for a dip by the devotees.

The company spends Rs 10 lakh every month on this project. Workers, in two batches, clean the premises regularly and carry the temple waste for segregation and processing at the site closeby. Two compost machines for non-plastic waste and two shredders for plastic waste have been established.

Worker shredding plastic waste in the shredder at Deogarh

Worker shredding plastic waste in the shredder at Deogarh

The green organic compost is taken by Krishi Vigyan Kendra. And Bio Crux, whose machines are used for shredding, buys back the plastic refuse for use in road construction. Posters on cleanliness have been put at vantage points in the temple premises and vicinity. These keep the people aware that cleanliness is godliness.

“POWERGRID also renovated the VIP foot over bridge leading into the temple and five water coolers have been installed,” says Jagrat Sharma, Associate Engineer, on deputation at POWERGRID. Resolving the stampede crisis during aarti and shringar in the evening, the PSU has installed two LED screens. Devotees can now see this in peace, even from far.
Five mast lights have been erected around Ganga Sagar Lake that keep it well lit. And POWERGRID is considering a beautification drive in the vicinity of the lake with the support of local administration. The three-year project is a model for keeping all pilgrimage places clean.

With 325 beds and a nominal cost,the Vishram Sadan at AIIMS has become a haven for patients

With 325 beds and a nominal cost,the Vishram Sadan at AIIMS has become a haven for patients

POWERGRID Vishram Sadan, AIIMS, Delhi

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is the one hospital that every Indian visits for treatment of serious illnesses and diseases. Giving relief and shelter to the ailing and their harried kith and kin is the 10-storeyed, 325-bedded POWERGRID Vishram Sadan, located just minutes away from the hospital. Pramod Kumar, Manager, informs, “The building was constructed at a cost of Rs 34 crore. It is managed by the 25-year-old charitable trust Bhao Rao Deoras Sava Nyas. There is a helipad on the roof too.”
There are 81 rooms from 1st-7th floors with seven single beds, 14 double beds, 21 three beds and the rest are dormitories. Every room opens out to let in plenty of sunlight, enabling cross ventilation. The maximum number of days that a family can stay is 14 days. “In severe cases, if the patient needs further checkups, they can rent the room on the doctor’s recommendation,” says Kumar.

With 325 beds and a nominal cost,the Vishram Sadan at AIIMS has become a haven for patients

With 325 beds and a nominal cost,the Vishram Sadan at AIIMS has become a haven for patients

The room charges are nominal: Rs 150 for single room, Rs 300 for dormitory and Rs 380 for a three-bedded room for the first week. The tariff increases marginally in the second week.“People come from every corner of the country but the most number of patients come from Bihar, UP, MP, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Assam. We have 100 per cent occupancy,” says Kumar.

There is a modern kitchen and cafeteria, a small general store and stationery-cum-photocopy kiosk in the basement. The dining hall has a seating capacity for 92 at one time. The breakfast costs a nominal Rs 10, lunch is a buffet spread priced at Rs 25 and dinner is priced at Rs 20. Morning and evening tea with biscuits is free.

Among the many patients who have found relief on physical stress and expenditure is Mohammed Ashraf from Kashmir, who has a malignancy in the pancreas. He says, “We save time and money on transport as there is a shuttle service that plies to AIIMS. It’s a great relief.”
Many more patients and their families have benefited with this initiative. Jayanti Sai from Mau, Uttar Pradesh, says, “I have been operated twice for brain tumour at AIIMS. Seeing my plight, my doctor advised me to shift to this place. This has eased cost of stay, food and local travel, for which I was earlier paying a hefty sum in private hotels.”
From Madhubani, Bihar, Pavitri Devi is undergoing treatment for breast cancer at AIIMS. She says, “The staff here ensures that cleanliness is maintained in the dormitory as it is necessary to prevent any infection. Everything is well well organised and we get good food.” Kumar informs, “The Sadan is not even two years old and we are adding more facilities. We have a lounge-cum-library. A TV has been donated by Punjab National Bank.” Patients and attendants sit on chairs in the broad semi-circular verandah, as they wait their turn to go home in sound health.

Students spend hours in the Gurugram library

Students spend hours in the Gurugram library

District Library, Civil Lines, Gurugram

Built at a cost of Rs 75 lakh, the new building of Zila Pustakalaya Bhawan opened in July 2019. In collaboration with the Haryana Advisory Board, this renovated district library is a landmark community facility in Civil Lines, Gurugram, Haryana. The foundation for this was laid in 1972. And 45 years later, this is a reader’s haven.
The librarian, Khub Ram Yadav, says, “This modern library comes as a boon for the youth. We have to give facilities to the children to study in peace and compete well. This library does just that.”

The library has a stock of 60,000 books, out of which 7,000 have been contributed by POWERGRID. The library subscribes to 12 newspapers, that is seven Hindi and five English dailies. The two-storey building houses books on relatively every subject. A member is allowed to issue a book for 15 days. There are six computers.

There are comfortable and plush chairs which make reading a joy. There is a spacious reading space and even a water cooler has been kept. While some come to enjoy their daily news, others are busy studying for competitive exams. On an average, 250 people use the facility daily. Twenty-one-year-old Neetu is a resident of Pataudi. She says, “I am living in a PG at Jharsa and preparing for the Combined Graduate Level Test. I have been coming to this library for a month. There are many reference books here. I can study peacefully here.”

One of the oldest visitors to the library, Vivek, a diploma holder in mechanical engineering from Rewari, lives in Gurugram. He shares, “I have been coming here for the last 14 years and it is like a second home to me. I am preparing for competitive entrance exams in railways. I find it easy to study here.”

Anupriya from Kaithal did her M. Tech from Kurukshetra University. “For the last three months I have been coming here daily. This has a good ambience and I can prepare for NET exams peacefully.”

Along the walls of the hall are seating spaces with plug points for digital access to study material. Jitendra Kumar and Radhey Shyam are marine engineers who come here to prepare for their departmental exams. Says Jitendra, “For two months we sail and then there is a 45-day break. This is the period when we use the facility to prepare for our exams and look forward to a promotion.” Radhey Shyam adds, “I am a member of this library since 2009, and I get a good place to surf for information online.” The boys bring their own laptops.

The word about district library has spread to quite a distance. Students from neighbouring districts are frequent users. Rohit Yadav has a master’s degree in Physics. “I belong to Rewari and my friends recommended this library when they came to know that I was moving to Gurugram to prepare for competitive exams.”

A science student from Manav Rachna Educational Institution, Vikas Lakhera says, “I am trying to get a government job for which I have to clear the entrance test. My friends suggested this library as an ideal place to study.”

Satish Kumar, librarian at the Government College for Girls in Gurugram, makes it a point to drop in as often as he can. “I was the librarian here for six months in 2014, so it gives me immense joy to see the transformation. It has become a landmark in town and the student community is benefiting from this.”

Voice of change

Dr Mohit Yadav

District Hospital, Gurugram

The good doctor has found a peaceful place to study at the district library.
"Since I want to specialise in paediatrics, I started coming to this place. It is conducive to pursue preparations for entrance exams in my field of interest."

Voice of change

Dr Manoj Kumar

Government hospital, Katihar

Vishram Sadan, AIIMS, is a good place for patients and attendants.
"My wife, Priya Singh, has been operated for brain tumour. We had to make several trips to Delhi, as her treatment was going on at AIIMS. My doctor friends suggested that I try this new Sadan."

Voice of change

Laxman, student

Samarthya, Rajnandgaon

A place for the special ones, this school has changed the lives of many young people.
"I make dal, rice, roti and sabzi under the mid-day meal scheme and earn Rs 1,200 every month."

Voice of change

G. Chinnamadaya, farmer

Muddavarm village, Kurnool district

A new pond and good seeds have changed his life for the better.
"The farm pond has water in summer too. Even my neighbouring farmers use this. The water is also pumped to the farms at the higher levels. Vegetables are grown around and close to the pond."