INOX Air Products Initiates Holistic Rural Development in Bokaro

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New Delhi, January 4, 2019: INOX Air Products has started to implement its CSR campaign through Mrida, a social business venture focused on sustainable and scalable holistic rural development. INOX Air Products, one of the largest manufacturers of industrial gases in India with 36 plants spread across the country, will work with Mrida for sustainable and holistic development of selected villages and hamlets in Bokaro District of Jharkhand. The project – Udaan, the Wings of Transformation focus on bringing about a developmental change in the villages.

As a part of their CSR initiatives, INOX Air Products has started to focus on holistic rural development and initially taken up 2 villages (Jharnamuri and Bajudih) for their campaign. These are around 19 kms from Bokaro Steel Plant, where INOXAP has its on-site liquid production unit.  These initiatives will be undertaken for a period of 34 months and began from June 2018.

“Since the rural areas are often the most in need of development, INOXAP decided to focus on them. We were on the lookout for a partner who could help us positively impact the lives of these communities and work closely with them for their social and economic welfare. We firmly believe that our programme with Mrida will help better the lives of the people in these areas and that together, we can make them a powerful and empowered community,” says Surendra Choudhary, Chief Financial Officer, INOX Air Products Pvt. Ltd.

Mrida is closely working with INOXAP partner villages and projects undertaken, including any and every activity that will impact the lives of residents of these rural hamlets/villages and help propel them on the path to development. These include agri-inputs, education, sanitation, energy access, clean water supply, healthcare and hygiene initiatives, livelihood generation activities to begin with and the scope of activities will be modified as the project progresses.

“As a concerned corporate citizen, INOXAP had been committing valuable resources to ensure that the communities in and around their plants benefit from their initiatives. We will work together to ensure that a positive, measurable, scalable and sustainable impact is created on the lives of the people in the areas we operate. Mrida believes in holistic development, and with INOXAP’s way of thinking, there is a huge synergy in what can be done. We are hopeful, and our work will speak for itself in a short time,” says Arun Nagpal, Co-Founder and CEO, Mrida Group.

INOXAP, through Mrida, has already undertaken the following for the villages in Bokaro:

  • Community mobilisation was the prerequisite for sustainable development initiative at these villages. The buy in from people would only come about after they were directly involved in the decision-making process. Today, villagers are a part of a Village Development Committee and take decisions about the development initiatives directly in consultation with the Mrida Team.
  • Existing Solar LED Street Light network has been strengthened by repairing existing lights and installing new ones as per need so that the safety and security of these areas is reinforced. 100 percent coverage has already been achieved in both villages.
  • Since safety and health of the villagers is one of the main concerns, availability of clean drinking water to the households becomes very important. As a result, a solar-powered pumping and purification system plant has been installed in Jharnamuri village on a community-based model where each household in the village pay Rs. 20 per month to the Village Development Committee for availing the services. The money thus collected is utilised for the upkeep of the system over time and makes the intervention self-sustainable. A water purification system has been installed in the government middle school for school students. The pipeline work for water to school toilets has also been completed.
  • Creating sustainable and scalable livelihood generation opportunities including encouraging micro entrepreneurship and all-round community engagement will be another area of operation.
  • Two Stitching Centres have already been established and a training programme initiated for 32 students across two villages. Incense sticks value addition and marketing training imparted for 30 women and local linkages being created with business already flowing in for them.

It is planned that the following will be also focused on in the next phase:

  • Setting up of solar powered e-hubs to provide education, entertainment and e-commerce facilities.
  • These are predominantly agrarian communities and the farmers are still using traditional methods of cultivation. An in-depth agri-input programme focused on bettering yields and focused on high value crops will be undertaken to improve productivity and income levels of the farmers.
  • Working closely with the existing state-aided primary schools to ensure that more and more children can benefit from the education imparted.
  • Health and nutrition-related initiatives: This will start with the health baseline survey of the villagers through medical/health camps and based on the results of the survey, subsequent interventions to improve on  the basic health index would be undertaken.
    Installation of Solar Water Pumping & Purification System in Bajudih village on similar lines.
  • Strengthening local leadership at the village level through Village Development Committees (VDCs). The idea is for the VDC to eventually take over ongoing activities with minimal involvement of INOX and Mrida.