GKEL committed to enhance quality of life of neighborhoods: Ramesh R Pai

The ‘Gramin Suswasthya Micro Insurance Policy’ offered by GKEL secures each policy holder family to the extent of Rs. 30,000 for medical treatment during hospitalization and up to Rs. 1,25,000 in unfortunate case of the head of the family dies in accident.

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BHUBANESWAR: GMR Kamalanga Energy Limited (GKEL), which operates 1050 MW coal-fired power plant in Dhenkanal District of Odisha, has made substantial efforts to enhance the quality of life of individuals in neighbouring communities. Here are excerpts of what M Ramesh R Pai, Chief Operating Officer (COO), GKEL, says India CSR Network about the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives at its project area.

You have spent a substantial amount on CSR activities looking at the size of your project? What kind of activity you are doing at your project area?

We have been working consistently with the communities in two Panchayats. We started CSR activities in early 2007 in Kamalanga and Mangalpur panchayat to enhance the quality of life of people dwelling in GKEL neighborhoods. Our focus areas are education, health care, livelihood and women empowerment. We have a professional CSR team working for communities and all works are supervised by the management team.

How do you involve the project affected people in CSR decision making process?

We conduct needs assessment in the community before the start of financial year. Based on the community needs we formulate CSR programs, and in the implementation, people, community institutions share responsibility and programs are executed to achieve the objectives. We try to ensure that there is a convergence with government schemes. In that way we utilize the development funds to the maximum.

You have set up a Hospital and DAV Public School. What is the objective for setting up such type of infrastructure in a remote area?

We have set up a state-of art Hospital and a DAV Public School at our Township near Kamalanga Village. Our objective is not only to set up a good power plant, but also to provide better health care and quality education to local community. We are providing fee concession to the children of Project affected families.

You have distributed health insurance policy to land losers. What kind of benefit they will get from this?

We have distributed health insurance policies to around 2500 members of the local community belonging to land loser families for the last three years. By doing so, GKEL became the first corporate house in Odisha to offer health insurance policies to land losers and ensure their health security as part of its CSR activities. The ‘Gramin Suswasthya Micro Insurance Policy’ offered by GKEL secures each policy holder family to the extent of Rs. 30,000 for medical treatment during hospitalization and up to Rs. 1,25,000 in unfortunate case of the head of the family dies in accident.

You have done good CSR activities. Why you have launched LRP again?

We have launched the Livelihood Restoration Program (LRP) last year in our project area. The objective of the LRP is to elevate the living standard of project affected families through micro-units. We have implemented LRP in very intensive and integrated manner and it benefits more than 1500 project affected families. The project affected families get training in skill development, modern farming and micro-enterprises, which help them to improve their livelihood in sustainable manner.

How do you see GKEL after three years?

GKEL is a fine asset of GMR Group. We want to make GKEL a better working place and model power plant in harmony with the communities surrounding the project. We have implemented many new policies to achieve this goal.

How would you define CSR as?

I believe that CSR should not be used as risk mitigation instrument rather a moral responsibility of corporate leadership to solve India’s societal problems and has to be embedded in core values and principles of the company.

Disclaimer: The thoughts captured in the interview is solely that of the interviewee. The views expressed by the interviewee in this feature are entirely his own and does not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR Network and its Editor.

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