“India lives in its villages” was what Mahatma Gandhi had said, early in the 20th century. Today, in the 62nd year of our Independence 70% of our 1 billion plus people continue to live in over 6 lakh villages in the hinterland of our country. Much progress has been made to ensure that villagers live a life of dignity. Much more needs to be done. In thousands of hamlets, poverty still stalks them. We endeavour to mitigate it in our own small way. Under the aegis of the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, our focus has been and continues to be largely in rural development. Our Centre is led by Mrs. Rajashree Birla, your Director. Here is a snapshot of your Company’s work:
• Reached out to thousands of villagers at the rural medical camps organised for general health check-ups. Those afflicted with serious ailments were taken to the Company’s hospitals for treatment.
• At the eye camps conducted by us, 5,557 villagers were examined and treated, of these 948 underwent cataract surgeries and 284 people were provided with spectacles for better sight.
• In a special drive to treat skin ailments, 248 people were treated at Veraval, 269 people with skin diseases and 182 physically challenged people were treated and rehabilitated at Jagdishpur.
• More than 3,600 truck drivers, helpers and migrant workers attended programmes organised on HIV/AIDS awareness.
• Over 30,000 villagers benefited from the special camps organised at Veraval, Renukoot, Gummidipoondi and Rishra to treat patients suffering from dental problems, tuberculosis, spine and osteoporosis and other specific health related issues.
Mother and Child Care:
• We administered 33.2 million polio doses to children at Jagdishpur, Gummidipoondi, Veraval, Halol and Renukoot.
• More than 1,800 couples have taken to planned families as a result of our intensive efforts to promote responsible parenting.
• At Rishra, 167 children and mothers were given the Hepatitis vaccines, and typhoid vaccines were administered to 105 children.
• To encourage the spirit of excellence, 1,424 children from our adopted rural schools were awarded scholarships.
• Adult Education Centres at Renukoot, Veraval and Gummidipoondi continue to provide informal education to adults as well as school dropouts to resume mainstream education.
• The Aditya Birla Primary School, run by Hi Tech Carbon Renukoot, helps provide education to underprivileged children.
• With a special focus on girl child education, several of our units are supporting Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBV) — residential schools for girls.
• The talent search and recognition programme organised by Indo Gulf drew 1,385 students from different schools.
• Indian Rayon, Veraval’s support to rural balwadis, and teaching aids to schools has benefited 690 children.
• At Jagdishpur, 153 women were trained in the art of zardosi (zari embroidery), and 186 women in tailoring.
• In the past year, 88 trainees have graduated and 93 rural youth are undergoing training at Birla Shaktiman’s Vocational Training Centre which provides one-year courses in Cutting and Tailoring, Electrical, Auto Mechanic and Electronics. So far, a total of 2,494 trainees have completed the course, of whom 80 per cent are gainfully employed across India and other countries.
• Self-employment opportunities have been created for 619 women through setting up of the nursing training centres apart from imparting training in various trades like mobile repairs and computers.
• To boost agricultural productivity and help farmers reap a rich harvest, various exposure trips and training programmes were conducted on issues such as high yielding variety seeds, organic farming, vermicompost, sprinkler technology, fodder management among others, benefiting more than thousand farmers at Veraval.
• Economic programmes, water conservation and animal husbandry programmes reached out to 9,767 people.
Self Help Groups and Income Generation:
• We linked 344 women through Self Helps Groups (SHGs) this year, empowering them financially and socially. Today we have over 400 SHGs. Most of these groups have linkages with the economic schemes of NABARD and the District Industries Centre which encourage employment generation activities.
• The 406 Self Help Groups (SHGs) at Indo Gulf are enabling the empowerment of 2,703 women through skills training and income generation. Of these, 92 SHGs are engaged in small scale business projects worth Rs. 244.65 lakhs.
• One of our model villages at Gummidipoondi has been honoured with the ‘Nirmal Gram Puraskar Award’ for 2008-09 in recognition of its efforts in improving sanitation.
• At Hi Tech Carbon, Renukoot, ponds and check dams were constructed benefiting 900 villagers.
• As part of our water conservation measures rainwater harvesting, farm well recharging and deepening of wells, is undertaken at several villages.
• To address the drinking water problem in primary school villages, Sarasva, Umrala and Vadodara, a hand pump pipeline has been installed under the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewage Board. Indian Rayon is setting up safe drinking water projects under the ‘Swajaldhara Yojana’.
• Through mass widow remarriages and awareness camps on issues such as dowry, old age pension, addiction problems and divorcee rights, we supported more than 1,500 women.
• This year, Indo Gulf, in collaboration with Birla Sun Life Insurance, provided insurance cover of Rs. 1.164 lakhs to the BPL (Below Poverty Line) families, and Rs.1.30 lakhs was paid as death claims.
Our Board of Directors, our Management and all of our employees subscribe to the philosophy of compassionate care and to the upliftment of our rural societies.
We, as Group, are committed to sustainable development, to meeting the needs of the present without in any way jeopardizing the welfare of future generations. Our business strategies consciously factor environment conservation as a major principle. Your Company is continually looking for new ways to preserve the environment and manage resources responsibly.
Your Company has become a member of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) which awards the Responsible Care® certification. Titled RC-14001, this certification is granted for driving continual improvement in key areas: community awareness and emergency response, security, employee health and safety, pollution prevention, process safety, distribution safety and product stewardship. These measures are applicable not
just to the organisation, but the entire supply chain. Already adopted in 53 countries, the Rayon Plant in Veraval is the first in India to receive the RC-14001 certification.
Your Company’s plants – the Rayon Plant at Veraval, Jaya Shree Textiles at Rishra, the Carbon Black Plants at Renukoot and Gummidipoondi and Insulator Plants at Rishra and Halol — are all ISO 14000 EMS certified.
Your Company’s plants have also received the OHSAS 18001 Certification for Safety Management Systems and are SA 8000 certified for Social Accountability Standards.
Additionally, the Insulator Division’s Rishra plant is BS EN ISO 14001: 2004, certified by The British Standards Institution, London. This certification prescribes controls for activities that impact the environment including the use of natural resources, handling and treatment of waste, and energy consumption. The Insulator plants are increasingly adopting new technologies, improving product yield and reducing water consumption per
ton of output. Sludge generated from the Effluent Treatment Plant is recycled and sold to cottage industries, and as raw materials for low tension insulator industries.
An in-depth environmental audit is conducted at your Company’s plants by Professional Environment Auditors, The Central Salt and Marine Chemical Institute (Bhavnagar) – a Gujarat Pollution Control Board recognized Institute — GITCO-Ahmedabad and the Bureau of Indian Standards. Their Audit Reports validate our commitment to environment conservation. Additionally, trained environment systems auditors conduct
Concerned about the air quality, your Company accords ensures that dust suppression consistently remains well within the prescribed limits. Air Monitoring Stations are provided, in and around the factory premises, for measuring SPM and other pollutants.
The Rayon Division’s Caustic Soda Plant at Veraval is rated as a benchmark plant with the lowest rate of solid waste per ton of production. Sodium sulphide is made from hydrogen sulphide and sodium hypochlorite is produced from waste chlorine. We use hydrogen gas to produce caustic flakes, which is one of the cleanest fuels for Flakers Furnace and results in CO2 elimination.
In the area of Solid Waste Management, due care is taken for the utilization of fly ash. We have commissioned a brick plant and are supplying the fly ash generated to our Group’s cement plant.
A well-equipped laboratory and dedicated Environment Management Centre in the Veraval factory regularly analyses and monitors the eco-system of the complex.
Apart from the regular environment management best practices being followed, the Rayon Division is monitoring carbon dioxide emissions and has already initiated steps to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere as per the Kyto-Protocol signed by India.
The Rayon Plant at Veraval has won the coveted ‘GreenTech Environment Excellence Gold Award 2008’ for outstanding achievement in the chemical sector. Indian Rayon has also been honoured with a special award
- ‘Green Edge Award 2008’ - in recognition of its efforts in leveraging Information Technology to safeguard the environment. Its IT initiatives have seen a reduction in paper and power consumption.
The Rayon Division has obtained Environment Clearance for its Expansion Project for Viscose Filament Yarn (1,650 MTPM), Caustic Soda Plant (400 TPD) and other related by products from the Ministry of Environment and Forest, New Delhi.
At your Company’s Fertiliser Division, innovative mechanisms for environment protection are well in place.
Process optimization, water conservation projects and using recycled treated effluent has substantially lowered the plant’s water consumption. The Plant’s water consumption level is comparable to world class Urea fertilizer plants globally. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has conferred a Certificate of Appreciation in
recognition of this division’s efforts in environment management and innovative initiatives. Indo Gulf Fertilisers is constantly earning carbon credits from its CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects.
Our rain-water harvesting projects are well on track, and have been extended to our townships as well.
Several water bodies in the catchment areas for rain-water storage and ground water recharging have beencreated. There is an additional upside as these projects help provide water to communities that live close to our plants.
Our endeavours to be as eco-efficient as possible are unrelentingAnnual Report 2008-2009, Pg. 42-46