Neighbourhood Development – Role of Department of Atomic Energy

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By Dr Prabhat Kumar

Introduction:
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has many important establishments at Kalpakkam, which has its identity as an important nuclear centre in the globe. The success of any organization is greatly depends on the people working in and around the organization. Success of DAE establishments at Kalpakkam is not only due to performance of DAE units but also due to pivotal role by the DAE towards socially responsible activities. All the DAE units at Kalpakkam are playing important role and are working in unison towards the development of neighbourhood villages. A sleepy village with scanty populations residing at Kalpakkam during 1970’s has emerged as the place buzzing with activities and prosperity for the residence. The DAE establishments have grown at Kalpakkam from last few decades with overwhelming support from the villagers. Excellent rapport, exceptional harmony, incredible relationship has been maintained between the neighbourhood and DAE establishments since 70’s.

DAE establishments have undertaken various programmes for the neighbourhood development for the past several years and of its own have attempted to uplift the society in & around Kalpakkam. DAE has played an important role with neighborhood for improving the quality of life of local public for growth. Apart from providing indirect employment in various units, the thrust has been mainly towards the betterment in education, infrastructure, health & hygiene, water supply, outreach programme, sports, development of rural & coastal areas and other welfare activities. A small village has developed in many areas due to the existence of DAE units at Kalpakkam. DAE establishments enables considerable opportunities for local villagers for development of their infrastructure, education, improvement in the markets, business opportunities etc. Acknowledging the above, neighborhood has accepted the DAE units at Kalpakkam for continual improvement & sustained global recognition. Unique solidarity was exhibited during rehabilitation of natural calamity i.e. tsunami during December 2004 and subsequent cyclones. In the event of natural calamities like heavy precipitation, cyclones, BHAVINI has provided the shelters, food to villagers and also provided machine/equipment to clear the accumulated water. We in DAE identify ourselves as a part of neighborhood. We invite for the villager’s participation in many of our functions to encourage, highlight and recognize their potentials.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities are to be carried out in such a way that there is no duplication of activities/efforts in the same location and it is ensured that welfare activities are carried out by various units of DAE where they are really warranted in a transparent mode. The CSR activities are carried out by the team of employees of DAE who are identified specifically for execution of these activities.

Corporate Social Responsibility in infrastructure development and education:
The CSR activities involved in the infrastructure development includes building of community halls, laying of roads, construction of overhead tanks and bridges etc. The emphasis particularly in the area of education is supply of computers to school, educational kits to children, supply of laboratory equipments & library books, construction of class rooms & compound walls and construction of toilets to the schools. Large nos. of needy and deserving children’s from the neighbouring villages have been given admission in the DAE & KV schools at Kalpakkam campus. BHAVINI has also conducted essay competition for neighbouring village school children for improving their skills and knowledge, which would give more confidence to compete at par with other students from urban area.

Among plethora of infrastructure development work carried out by BHAVINI around the villages, a few are listed below. includes supply of basic amenities in various schools in 8 villages around Kalpakkam, construction of additional classrooms for schools of Tamizh Vazhi Kalvi Kalam Arakkattalai at Vittilapuram, construction of school compound wall, toilets, over head tank etc. in the middle school run by Vittilapuram panchayat, construction of compound wall around the school campus in Neikupi–Vengambakkam village, construction of canopy in the play area & fees sponsorship for education for few mentally challenged childrens of Mehatva school, construction of community hall at Nallathur village, construction of foot bridge across Buckingham canal for burial ground, construction of compound walls around Vengambakkam high school, construction of anganwadi building in the Neikuppi village, construction of classrooms at Bairahimadam Govt. School at Vittilapuram panchayat, construction of anganwadi at Ayyapakkam village, providing amenities & infrastructure facilities in the community hall at Nallathur village, providing lab facilities & furniture etc at Govt. high school at Natham Kariacheri, construction of class rooms at Karaithittu village, providing library facilities at Sooradimangalam village, construction of class rooms at Natham Kariacheri village, providing black boards amenities for higher secondary school at Pudupattinam, providing student desks for government high school at Sooradimangalam, construction of toilets for government girls higher secondary school at Thirukazhukkundram and other schools, construction of reading hall at vayalur village, renovation of existing cyclone relief building at Pudupattinam, providing & fixing of children playing equipments for Sadras & Manamai panchayat communities, construction of crematorium at Neikuppi village.

Corporate Social Responsibility in the field of health & hygine:
The glimpses of few CSR activities carried out by BHAVINI in and around Kalpakkam in the field of health & hygine includes cleaning of neighbouring village communities, construction of labour ward for primary health centre at Sadras, construction of primary health centre at Kadalur village, construction of primary health centre at Vadakadambadi village, providing water supply facilities at Pudupattinam, providing & laying water supply pipe line at Vasuvasamuthiram village, construction of compound wall for cattle fooder field at veterinary hospital in Vittilapuram.

Napkin vending machines and napkin destroying machines are installed for many neighbouring schools for the female students. Many medical camps were conducted for the health check-up of neighbouring village members. Lots of efforts were made for development of bio-village in coordination with M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation. Many plant donation programs were conducted for green sight development. The plantation of various bioshields includes casurina plants, cashew nut plants, coconut plants, mangrove plants etc.

In addition to above CSR activities carried out by BHAVINI, DAE also supported the neighbourhood through special funds.

CSR activities carried out through special funds sanctioned by BHAVINI board as welfare measure for neighbouring populations:
Department of Atomic Energy is also carried out various CSR activities with the aid of special funds. The CSR activities carried out using special fund includes construction of vented causeway across Buchingham canal on Sadras perumalchery road, cleaning of neighbouring village communities in and around Kalpakkam, construction of toilets for primary school at Pudupattinam & providing retaining wall cum parapet wall along the Buckingham canal near Pudupattinam, providing connecting corridor from the operation theatre to the ward for PH centre at Sadras village including renovation of operation theatre, providing underground sump & drinking water system at Uyyalikuppam in Vayalur village, providing over head water tank & drinking water system at sinna colony in Vittilapuram village, supply & installation of laboratory furniture for chemistry, physics & biology laboratories for the Govt. Higher secondary school at Sadras village, supply of children playing equipments for Sadras Panchayat communities.

The CSR activities which is in progress are construction of high level bridge under self sufficiency scheme of state government at Edaiyathur, causeway work at Sadras, construction of shore-line storage shelter for fishing materials at Meiyyur kuppam village, improvement of veterinary hospital at Vittilapuram, laying of floor tiles for cyclone relief building in Pudipattinam

CSR activities carried out for empowering the communities for self employment:
Several programs of empowerment of youths, training, self-employment have provided job opportunities to the neighbourhood in & around Kalpakkam. Many village members are actively associated with DAE establishments through works & service contracts besides significant nos. of persons directly employed in DAE establishments from Tamilnadu. BHAVINI has given training to “self help group” at Sadras Meyyur kuppam village through M/s Venkateswara hatchery for encouraging the self employment and improving the business opportinuties. One of the “self help group” is actively involved in mushroom cultivation.

With the support of State Government/Local organizations and IGCAR, training programme is conducted for the neighbourhood village youths for qualification on five different NDE techniques and examinations were conducted by the Indian Society for Non Destructive Testing. In association with Indian Institute of Welding, DAE has also conducted International diploma courses in welding science at Kalpakkam for the mutual benefit of DAE as well as the neighbourhood contract firms. Many candidates from different states including Tamilnadu have participated and benefited by the above diploma course. Kalpakkam Community Radio Station (KCRS) is one of the very important step taken by the DAE for improving the business, employment and growth opportunities for the neighbourhood.

Kalpakkam Community Radio Station and its activities:
Kalpakkam Community Radio Station (KCRS) is conceived to involve community to exhibit their talents. KCRS was commissioned on 26-01-2011 as part of neighbourhood welfare developmental activity, which is operating at a frequency of 90.8MHz. KCRS is located at Kalpakkam and broadcasts for about 15km radius. Uninterrupted broadcasting for 9 hours in a day for more than 2 years indicates the success of KCRS. After connecting to the internet now, KCRS programmes can be heard anywhere on the globe. Sufficient funds have been earmarked to KCRS for operation & maintenance, as it does not accept advertisements or sponsors.

The main objective of radio station is to serve the community in and around Kalpakkam and reach the community at the grass roots through radio programmes. With the content sharing, KCRS can reach information to the villagers. The information deprived community is immensely benefited by the content delivery creating awareness among them. The KCRS broadcasts many programmes regularly for the improvement in education & employment to the youths and broadcasts useful information for fisherman & farmers working around the Kalpakkam.

The content creation and program management committee of KCRS includes participation of village representatives who always ensure that the programs made are of relevance to the community. The representatives are from various segments including farmers, fishermen, social workers, pioneering women entrepreneurs etc. KCRS encourages the local community by providing training to them on the advanced radio transmission software and also gives hands on experience on the mixers & systems to play the role as announcer. Most of the KCRS staffs and radio jockeys are from nearby villages.

Technologically advanced section of the people mostly living in the urban areas have the fast and quick access to the information on employment before the information reaches to the village residents. Due to this reason, some time, this does not fulfil the actual requirement of employers for deployment of right candidate and also results in omission of employment of potential eligible candidates from the villages. In order to overcome this situation to the extent possible, KCRS is jointly working with “Employment News” for delivery of employment related matters to information deprived remote areas around Kalpakkam in both English and Tamil languages three times in a day.

In partnership with Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, KCRS receives regularly data on Indian Ocean Forecast System and Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) on a daily basis. KCRS has secured the national level third prize for the “Best community engagement” in the year 2012 for broadcasting the potential fishing zone, sea wave height, wind direction etc. which helps fishermen’s for deciding on the best location to the potential fishing area inside the sea. The information also carries the depth at which the fishes are available. The potential seaweed culture & harvesting methods were brought out by the KCRS for the fishermen through an awareness program conducted by the experts from centre for advanced study in marine biology, Annamalai University.

KCRS interacts with the local community through “Gramam Poovomi” program on a regular basis by visiting at least two villages in a week. Through the direct interaction with community at their doorstep, KCRS solicits and shares information about their talents, voice their concerns, highlight their achievements, aspirations and talents. Through the interactions, the queries on community/individual health issues/agriculture etc. are recorded and the replies obtained from the experts in the respective field are broadcasted. The senior citizens, housewives, children, farmers, fishermen’s, sculptures and other professionals are benefited through this interactive program. The KCRS visit also covers interaction with tribal sectors to highlight their culture and life style.

KCRS coherently coordinate and visits the government groups or organizations such as Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and record programs of relevance to empower farmers, horticulturist and fishermen to enhance their productivity and profitability. Another key partner of KCRS is office of the joint Director of Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu. The experts from the above office visits KCRS and record agriculture based programs for farmers of neighbourhood community. KCRS also broadcasts the educational information’s produced by National Institute of Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Chennai for the benefit of neighbourhood student communities.

KCRS interacts regularly with Self Help Groups in the surrounding villages and broadcasts their success stories. Further KCRS organizes sessions on personality development, motivation, good parenting and road to success for teachers, parents and students at schools. KCRS visits various schools and records variety of programs at their premises and also at the premise of KCRS at Kalpakkam. KCRS broadcasts program produced by the teachers for students during examination period. KCRS conducts interviews with meritorious students of the community and motivates them.

KCRS has the vision to increase radio audience to the fullest by creating change in the community through various programmes which are beneficial for the neighborhood.

Outreach programme of BHAVINI:
BHAVINI has been actively engaged in the public outreach programme since its inception from October 2003. About 23,000 students have visited PFBR site since start of its construction in 2004. BHAVINI has created full infrastructure for the involvement of students. PFBR project presentations have been given to the every team who has visited PFBR site. In addition, site visits also arranged for the benefit of students. More than 300 students have taken project work at BHAVINI. Several groups of teaching faculties have visited PFBR site and got involved in the study of geological, geotechnical, civil construction, quality assurance and industrial safety feature of the plant. Senior BHAVINI management has been periodically visiting schools, universities, engineering colleges, arts & science colleges and given presentation about the nuclear energy for enhancing the technical knowledge for about 1-lakh student communities. BHAVINI team in a vehicle with the safety banners have been visiting schools and educating them about the nuclear & industrial safety aspects.

BHAVINI has always ensured its presence during social, religious or cultural activities in the nearby villages. In addition, the senior BHAVINI representatives have promptly attended festivals in the neighbourhood. During official cultural programs, BHAVINI provides opportunity for nearby villagers to exhibit their talent. The carnival conducted at Kalpakkam provides opportunity to large number of people from neighbouring villages to participate equally with residents of DAE Township.

Concluding Remarks:
Neighbouring village members have extended great support & stood by side of us and contributed significantly in development & growth. DAE has the love & affection to the citizens of neighbourhood. BHAVINI alongwith other DAE units at Kalpakkam has the ambition and various plans for persistent Corporate Social Responsibility. DAE wish to extend the support to the neighbourhood to the maximum possible extent within the framework of regulations and commits itself for the upliftment of society residing in the vicinity of plants.

Dr Prabhat Kumar is the Distinguished Scientist and Chairman & Managing Director Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI), Department of Atomic Energy Kalpakkam-603102, Tamilnadu, India

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