LEG-UP FOR THE COMMUNITY
National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO)
National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO), a giant Navratna
CPSE under Ministry of Mines, is a perfect example of India’s Industrial
capability with its consistent track record in quality assurance, export
performance, capacity utilization and posting profits. It is Asia's largest
integrated Bauxite-Alumina-Aluminium Power Complex. This complex
has bauxite mining, alumina refinery, aluminium smelting and casting,
power generation, rail and port facilities. The highest producer of
renewable energy among PSUs, NALCO is one of the first among
CPSE to have a CSR policy since inception and is compliant to the
norms of Companies Act. Till last financial year, NALCO had invested
Rs. 325 crores toward CSR activities. For effective implementation of
CSR activities, NALCO in 2010 set up a standalone foundation.
With ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina’ (May each be happy) as their guiding spirit, the company believes in giving back happiness to the surroundings. In line with their vision of becoming an agent to engineer holistic development, NALCO has been taking up initiatives to bring about a significant change in the industrial map of Odisha. The company has 7,263 acres of land in Damanjodi in Odisha’s Koraput district and 4,103 acres in Angul district. In both the places,NALCO is working to improve the living standards and uplift the society through community participation. Integral to the development work undertaken are baseline surveys, assessment, community mobilization, accountability, sustainability and impact assessment. Their efforts have been bearing fruitful results as individuals in the remotest and inaccessible corners of Odisha are coming forward to avail of opportunities being provided by NALCO to improve their lives.To address the challenge, NALCO foundation in partnership with Koraput -based NGO WORD organization has been helping the villagers in opening bank accounts, availing ATM services, linking bank accounts with Aadhar while young boys and girls are being trained to use digital payment system including mobile applications. The trained youth are then encouraged to make family members aware of the mode to promote digital drive mission. To promote cashless transaction, NALCO Foundation under the guidance of GM (H&A) is providing youth with various electronic gadgets including laptop, Wi- Fi device, printer, pen drive, etc., to help them learn and use the new mode of payment for trade, services and online shopping.
IDamanjodi:Among the various CSR activities taken up by NALCO in the periphery villages of Damanjodi, the digitization drive underway in Lachamani village in April last year is yielding good results. The aim is to move a step closer towards ‘cashless’ society, says project manager Sambit Nayak. “During our baseline surveys, we found that there are around 140 households, of which only 30 per cent are literate. Before intervention 130 households had bank account and 65 households had ATM cards, but most of the account were dormant account due to non-transaction for a long period. The humungous challenge before us was convincing them to shift from their traditional barter system to digital banking system,” states Sambit.
I have been ordering various products online and have used Paytm quite many times," says 18-years -old Gopal Jani, one of the beneficiaries, adding that his father, Damodar Jani, has also started showing interest learning about digital transactions. To address the challenge, NALCO foundation in partnership with Koraput -based NGO WORD organization has been helping the villagers in opening bank accounts, availing ATM services, linking bank accounts with Aadhar while young boys and girls are being trained to use digital payment system including mobile applications. The trained youth are then encouraged to make family members aware of the mode to promote digital drive mission. To promote cashless transaction, NALCO Foundation under the guidance of GM (H&A) is providing youth with various electronic gadgets including laptop, Wi-Fi device, printer, pen drive, etc., to help them learn and use the new mode of payment for trade, services and online shopping. “I have been ordering various products online and have used Paytm quite many times," says 18-years-old Gopal Jani, one of the beneficiaries, adding that his father, Damodar Jani, has also started showing interest learning about digital transactions. "I have started explaining to him the nuances of digital technology, which is clearly helping our village to move towards the modern era,” says Gopal. Within a year of its implementation, around 60 per cent of youth in the village have got smart phones with internet connection, which is used for multiple purposes including online payments. The number of families enrolled with Aadhar has also risen from 146 in 2018, Sambit said.
WHealthcare through mobile vans is another vital service being provided by NALCO Foundation. Their medical vans proved a big boon to anthrax-stricken villagers in Dengnaguda, on the periphery of Damanjodi, where as many as 62,002 people have been diagnosed and treated. “Four such vans equipped with basic medicines, a pharmacist, a doctor and a van coordinator runs across the village once a week. In case the medical condition of any villager is beyond MHV’s control, the patient is taken to the hospital in the township area,” Sambit says.
Dr Geetanjali Mahapatra, MHU Coordinator, NF, Damanjodi, says that people in Dengnaguda village had barely any knowledge of anthrax. In ignorance, villagers took to Voodoo and magic besides home care for treating the sick, leading to a rise in death toll. It took lot of efforts to wean villagers away from superstition and accept medical help. “With time, youngsters have started studying and it is easier to communicate and explain to them hazards of home treatments,” Dr Mahapatra states.
The villagers here mainly speak ‘Kandha’ or ‘Kui’ language, which are slightly different from the regular Odia, posing a challenge to doctors and coordinators. “Since I understand them and can speak to them, the villagers trust me. However, the task is difficult,” says van coordinator Bhagabita Khila, who has been here for last three years. 24-year-old Khila strongly believes that being of some help to the society is a noble job and appreciates NALCO for having given him the opportunity to serve the villagers.Given the scarcity of medical facilities many villagers from a different valley across the mountains walk miles to avail free medicine from the weekly medical clinic held at the nearest MHV. “We are trying to figure out a way to reach them,” Sambit said.
To connect various villages, NALCO has constructed
bitumen and WBM roads in 17 villages of Damanjodi.
Likewise, in an effort to provide a better livelihood to the
villagers, NALCO has been working on the sanitation aspect
as well. They kick started their open defecation free village
initiative under Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, from one of the most
unreachable villages of Koraput districts, Upargadti nestled
amid the Eastern Ghats. One has to walk one kilometres
downhill to access Upargadti village, which today boasts of 50
toilets, a benchmark for such a remote location.
Sujata Dasari, a 17-year-old girl from Upargadti village,
is thankful that the toilets has freed them from the unsafe
practices of having to walk into the fields to answer the call of
nature. “It is quite easy now and with water having supplied
to us, all our household chores are less of a headache now,”
she says. Upargadti villagers now have started reaching out
to other nearby villages to promote construction and use of
toilets for keeping the surroundings clean.
NALCO Foundation, Damanjodi, is currently constructing toilets in five periphery villages- Goudaguda, Badanareka, Meeting, Rangapani and Jholguda. Under the water and sanitation project, NALCO Foundation has also constructed toilets in 85 schools and spent a whopping Rs 1.8 crore for linking water supply through different sources like bore well, dug well, gravity-based water supply, etc., to toilets in 74 schools. Similarly, NALCO, Angul, has constructed toilets in 91 schools and water system has been established in 54 school toilets at a cost of Rs. 1.29 crores to make such toilets functional.
Understanding the role played by education as a change agent, NALCO has started taking greater efforts to ensure children, especially girls, remain in school for longer duration, thereby reversing the trend of girls discontinuing their studies and dropping out. Under its NALCO ki Ladli programme in the spirit of the government's ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme, meritorious girls from BPL families are provided an incentive of Rs. 6,000 every year. “The girls scoring 60% and above in standard 7th, 8th and 9th are provided this scholarship for consecutive years,” informed Sambit.
One person to have benefitted greatly from this programme
is a student of the Malusanta Government High School,
Rasmita Sagar, who lives alone with her mother in Khalpadi.
“My father is no more and mother doesn’t work. I had decided
to discontinue my schooling, but the scholarship happened.
Since all our basic needs are being met by the school, now I am
able to help my mother financially and pursue my education,”
Education being one of their thrust areas, NALCO has also taken to sponsoring schools and equipping the students with essentials. In the Damanjodi sector, NALCO has been providing funds to Bikash Vidyalaya, a boarding school. In collaboration with the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, NALCO has been sponsoring the education of tribal children from 19 villagesin Damanjodi district and 21 villages of Pottangi. The funding helps to cover expenses related to study, boarding and lodging of students.The Foundation has also been supporting ‘MANAS’, a school for differently-abled children from the tribal belts. Built in 2001 by the then district administrator, Aparajita Sarangi, the infrastructure was funded by NALCO.
However, Sambit says, it was not treated as a CSR activity back then. “We have provided beds for the children, including various games they can play. It is a pleasure to watch them enjoy with whatever little they can understand of what we do and how,” he said.
Angul: Under its CSR programme, NALCO has been striving to transform lives everywhere. Suhani Pradhan from Badajorada village, who lost her parents when she was very young, and now lives with her uncle and aunt, is one fine example. With the help of a scholarship under NALCO Ki Ladli scheme, Pradhan has been able to not only continue with her education at government run Satyabadi High Schools, Badjorada, Talcher, but also meet her brother Swayam’s little demands. NALCO officials say they are keen to help other meritorious students like Pradhan pursue their education.
Additionally, the mining giant has been training young girls in
stitching under their skill development programme. They believe
that well nurtured skills with the right attitude can take the
young generation a long way on path to a better future both
for the individual and for the nation. Through need assessment,the interests and the requirement of the people are identified.
“If there are problems in a village like Bhaluguda, where the
villagers are not very cooperative, we visit them and explain the needs of skill development,” Sambit says. A certificate of
recognition of prior learning is also provided to these girls.
NALCO has fixed a target of providing skill development training to 800 youth in different trades over a period of two years. Till date, NALCO, as a responsible partner of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), has trained 60 girls and women as sewing machine operators. Plans are afoot to begin training courses for security guard, driving, healthcare and others.
For 18-year-old Sunita Katiya from Hanjraguda village, this skill development programme is empowering. “The thought of being self-employed is heartening especially when you hail from a remote village where people are not very encouraging. I want to earn, no matter how little. I want to learn and teach others in my village too, like my elder sisters who now earn around Rs 20 per day doing tailoring work,” says Sunita.
For 25-year-old Sandhyarani Nayak, the skill development programme has proved to be a boon as she has not only attained financial independence but gained emotionally too. Presently working in a medical store, she says within three months of doing the retail training course she got the job. “I learnt some English during the training course. I live here in the hostel with other girls. In the hostel they provide all facilities and we live a life that women dream of - full of fun and enjoyment,” says a confident Sandhyarani. Their programme ‘TechnoPak’ aims at enhancing employability of the local unemployed youth. Providing skill training in two sectors - Retail Sales Management and Hospitality - NALCO has set a target to train 800 unemployed youth. Each training batch usually has 30 students. So far, 15 batches have been trained and 170 students have been placed in jobs.
Pottangi: The major drive around this area involves CSR in agriculture and community development through self-help groups, which are taught how to operate bank accounts and imparted knowledge about loans and other government schemes so that they can avail maximum benefit from them. In Gelaguda village alone, there are six self-help groups namely Indira Mahila, Sabati, Jagannath, Tulasi, Bhimarani and Kanta Baunsni while two more groups Maa Durga and Mata Rani are coming up. Every year, each member of the group pays Rs 12 under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Bima Yojana. They are also insured under the Aam Admi Bima Yojana.
scheme the women and their family have an insurance cover
of Rs. 30,000, which is paid to the insured when in need. The
SHGs work independently catering to the financial needs of
the village women. The groups provide loan to the members
NALCO with the help of a local woman Dusila Srihariya has been creating awareness among women regarding SHG and government schemes. When in 2012, women of the Sabati SHG lost interest and stopped saving or paying back the loan, Dusila made efforts to help these women regain their faith. The savings done by these women are usually incomes from their agricultural activities. NALCO has been assisting them by creating awareness on organic farming including providing them with seeds.
“Villagers would not coordinate earlier but have now started to understand our viewpoint and the importance of pesticide free agriculture,” said Dusila. The major crops grown by this village includes ginger, sweet potato, brinjal, mandia, potato and maize. NALCO has also been providing with materials like water supply pipes and helping install water connection in Pottangi for both agriculture and other regular activities.
NALCO’s work has had a positive impact not only on the direct
beneficiaries but also many others around. Village animals are
also benefiting from their efforts on conservation of natural
resources like cleaning of ponds in their periphery area. Three
ponds- Kandasar Katabandha, Kulad Badabandha and Girang
Raul Kata have so far been cleaned and conserved at a cost of
Rs 95.45 lakh, Rs 32.88 lakh and Rs 28.93 lakh respectively,
transforming the shallow, unused ponds into deep water
reservoirs. The villagers can now be seen doing their daily
activities, including bathing, near the banks. A protective fence
has also been built around the ponds to ensure the safety of the
villagers, particularly during the night.
“After the ponds have been properly cleaned, it feels good taking bath here. Now we also have toilets at home, so no one comes around these areas to defecate which ensures it remains clean and more hygienic, especially during monsoon,” says Namita, a villager who regularly takes bath in the pond.
Philanthropy being a key aspect of their work, NALCO has
constructed a building for Adruta Children’s Home, which
falls beyond their periphery. The home provides shelter to 98
orphans. “The buildings we had were not enough and the new
one built by NALCO last year gave these boys a permanent and
more comfortable home. Earlier, we had a rented home in Angul
town. Now with our own building, we can focus on doing other
things for the children,” says Satyabhama Nayak, the principal
of the home.
For young Sunil, Adruta is the only family and home he has seen. “We now have plenty of area to play. The new building has better beds and enough space for us boys to jump around and enjoy,” says Sunil. In addition to providing a new building, NALCO has deposited Rs. 55.15 Lakh with the district administration for the development of the orphanage.
NALCO with its team of smart employees, who are keen to work for the welfare of the people, is setting up new milestones with its myriad activities. Their other works in Angul includes Mobile Health Units & OPD center, distribution of assistive devices to persons with disabilities, access to safe drinking water, awareness programmes and digitalisation drive, construction of concrete & bitumen roads, construction school buildings, construction school toilets ( so for185 toilets have been built in 91 schools) and water supply system for school toilets.