Vedanta’s alumina refinery in Lanjigarh in Odisha, is working with marginalized farmers in the area to develop a vegetable cultivation plan and has distributed seeds to the ones most in need. The initiative aims to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on agriculture and allied activities in the area.
Vedanta’s Lanjigarh plant has already touched well over 1 lakh people in the area through its precautionary and preventive measures. In this subsequent phase, in the fight against the global pandemic, the alumina refinery is looking at restoring and sustaining the livelihood of the local communities.
As part of this effort, the Vedanta CSR has helped develop a vegetable cultivation plan for the local farmers, whose source of income has been impacted adversely by COVID-19.
Under this initiative, the plant is ensuring availability of good quality seeds of bitter gourd, cowpea, ridge gourd, etc. to the local farmers in need, in collaboration with the Agriculture and Horticulture Department. The team has reached out to over 100 farmers in nearby villages, such as Kadamguda, Balabhadrapur, Harekrushnapur, Chhatrapur, Bundel, Kapaguda, Kenduguda, Dengsargi and Basantpada in the first phase of this vegetable cultivation plan, which will help them in the cultivation of vegetables in kharif season.
Referring to this initiative undertaken by the plant, Rahul Sharma, CEO – Alumina Business said, “At Vedanta, we are committed to enabling our communities to become self-reliant and self-sufficient. As part of this endeavour, we have perceived the need to support the farmers in the areas around our operations to help restore their livelihood. We are extending all support possible to help the people affected by this pandemic and bring their lives to normalcy. We are closely working with the government alongside our people and partners to emerge from these trying times stronger together.”
Through this initiative, every farmer is being supported with more than 50% of the total seed cost along with technical assistance. Vedanta has also helped these farmers in enrolling in the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) scheme, under National Horticulture Mission, which will help them in receiving reimbursement of 25% of the cost incurred per acre.
Vedanta Lanjigarh has also supported the local self-help group (SHG) members in sustaining their livelihood by collaborating with them in the COVID-19 preparedness efforts. Over 1,00,000 washable cloth masks were prepared through local self-help groups which have been distributed free of cost to the communities in tandem with the district administration.
Over 100 Self-Help Group members are being provided free of cost training, sewing machines and raw materials as required, so they have a regular source of income to support their families at this time, when sources of livelihood are scarce.
Vedanta is the largest producer of aluminium in India and remains the premier manufacturer of metallurgical grade alumina. The company operates a 2 MTPA (million tonnes per annum) capacity alumina refinery in Lanjigarh (Kalahandi district, Odisha), India since 2007 and an associated 90 MW captive power plant.