The Government of India has placed operation of iron ore mines and steel plants in the list of essential services. To alleviate the situation, Navratna mining company NMDC is making all efforts to maintain an uninterrupted supply of iron ore from its mines at Bailadila in Chhattisgarh.
The company has taken steps for the health and safety of all the personnel in all its mines and plants, as per the instructions of the Ministry of Steel. NMDC has also taken appropriate initiatives for the rescue and treatment of the local people suffering from the virus under its CSR initiatives, in collaboration with the district administration.
The Central Government has instructed for production, supply and distribution of its raw materials in the form of iron ore, coal, dolomite to steel plants and mines, as required by the Maintenance of Services Act (1981). As iron ore is supplied by NMDC to several steel plants, including Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the Dantewada district administration has exempted the company’s Bailadila iron ore mines located at Kirandul and Bacheli from the ban.
As per instructions, NMDC has allowed all personnel and officers posted in its administrative offices to work from home. At the same time, to maintain the supply chain, a minimum number of personnel associated with the production process have been instructed to report for duty, after taking all precautions and care.
To prevent the spread of this epidemic, the company management has also announced a grant of Rs. 1000 to all regular workers including officers, and contracted & daily wage workers. This amount is in addition to the amount being spent to counter the CoronaVirus threat in various projects. NMDC has also placed thermal scanners at all check posts to check the personnel reporting for duty.
All vehicles coming in, along with the production area are being regularly sanitized. Adequate hand washing facilities with soap, and alcohol based sanitizers are being provided at major junctions in the facilities.
Awareness campaigns are also being conducted through posters and pamphlets, etc., and NMDC personnel are being made aware about social distancing while on duty. Control centres have been set up by the Personnel Department at all project sites for reporting cases related to the Corona virus, and is being constantly monitored for cases related to the disease. The facilities are being continually monitored from the NMDC headquarters at Hyderabad.
NMDC personnel or any of their relatives with travel histories, are being examined at the Project Hospitals. Isolation wards have been arranged in all project hospitals under the supervision of trained physicians. Apart from this, arrangements have been made to keep suspected patients at quarantined facilities. Personnel who have returned from traveling abroad, are being allowed to report for duty only after being issued a medically fit certificate, after quarantine for 15 days.
NMDC Personnel have also been instructed not to travel, to hold any functions, to keep their homes and surroundings clean while maintaining personal hygiene, and stay away from crowded places. Visitors’ entry has been fully restricted to the project sites.
Hoardings, banners have been installed in all townships and nearby villages for public awareness. NMDC has also made arrangements for public service announcements about the dos and don’ts in the local languages from morning to evening in the neighbouring areas and surrounding villages, to help the fight against COVID-19.
The company is also distributing free masks and sanitizers under its corporate social responsibility scheme to all personnel and officers, as well as villagers and other needy people living near the project sites.
As part of this CSR initiative, volunteer groups have been selected, especially with tribal women from Dantewada, to make masks and sanitizers to protect them from corona virus as well as increase their income. Apart from this, medicines are being distributed to the local people and disadvantaged sections in all the project hospitals free of cost.
At the Bailadila Iron ore mines and nearby market places, NMDC is helping conserve water through a ‘without touch soap dispenser’ cum hand-washer, designed in-house. NMDC is also enhancing sanitation facilities in townships, project offices and surrounding villages with the help of mist canons.