BHUBANSWAR: In a bid to elevate the living standards of project-hit families through micro units, GMR Kamalanga Energy Limited (GKEL) has launched a unique Livelihood Restoration Programme (LRP) in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district to show how small help can have a big impact.
“We are implementing LRP project in a very intensive and integrated manner in our project area. This will continue for next three years and will benefit more than 1500 project affected families,” said Ramesh R Pai, Chief Operating Officer of GMR Kamalanga Energy Limited (GKEL).
They are getting training on skill development, modern farming and micro-enterprises, which help them to improve their livelihood in a sustainable manner, he said.
“Our aim is to uplift the living standards in Kamalanga area by providing economic viability to the community. We want the community to prosper and live harmoniously with us,” Pai said, stressing that the help may be small, but the impact is certainly greater. Besides LRP, GKEL has also established a 30-bed well-quipped hospital and an English Medium DAV Public School in Kamalanga area to provide better health facility and promote quality education for the project affected families.
We are also the first corporate house in Odisha to distribute health insurance policies to 2,500 members of the local community, said Pai. People benefitted by GKEL’s LRP also narrate their experiences. Purandar Das of Kaliataila village of Mangalpur Panchayat says not many livelihood options were open to him and he systematically explored possibilities and identify the lack of cycle repair shop in the village.
He started a small shop with bare minimum tools 5 years ago. Slowly the shop picked up, as most of the villagers used cycles to commute. But due to lack of fund he could not have required tools. So people used to go to 5 km from the village for any type of cycle repair work.
Purnadar says his dream to expand the shop by adding much required tools was fulfilled through LRP support. Spare parts and tools were purchased for Rs 15,000. Now his shop is well equipped with new tools and spare parts which are in regular demand. “It’s not only source of income for me, but gives satisfaction when I help someone in need” says Purandar, who earns Rs 300 daily from this business as against Rs 100 a day earlier. His is the only cycle repair shop of the area.
Adding a touch of fashion, Ashok Behera had learnt stitching but could not get opportunity to start a tailoring shop. With the land compensation received from GKEL he wanted to start a shop but he was not confident. Initially he started his business from his village Kamalanga Mangalpur Panchayat, but strong determination, hard work and passion towards his business led him to explore new avenues and new geographies. Ashok opened a shop at main market in Kantabania 4 years ago in partnership with one his friends.
He was working hard but the profit was divided with his partner. He was getting Rs 3000-4000 per month. With the increasing demand he wanted to work even after coming home, but was unable to do so due to lack of sewing machine and raw materials. Therefore, he appraoched GKEL for support.
Ashok has received three machines through LRP costing around Rs 24,000, one being the higher version with multiple stitching and designing options. After getting machine at home Ashok works extra time and also his wife and brother help him at home. He is now getting orders from the village as well as catering to the demand in the Kantabania market through his shop.
Now his monthly income easily crosses Rs 6,000 after deducting all the payments and expenditures. Similar was the story of Anil Sahu, a land loser of Kamalanga villge. He says LRP support increased business at his tiffin shop. Now his daily sales stood at Rs 1,500 generating a profit of Rs 300-400. Earlier, it was Rs 700-800 with a profit of Rs 100-150.