'New projects' are an integral part of life at Ambuja Cement Foundation. In order to continue to raise the bar and forge new boundaries, a culture of 'thinking outside the box' and introducing new ideas is fostered, and team members are given the liberty to try new initiatives (and also to fail but learn from those failures).
And it is no different in Himachal Pradesh - a state that presents many unique challenges to the team and where a range of new projects are being implemented to solve pressing community problems.
1. Mitiyan Springshed Development
In the Himalayas, majority of water consumption comes from springs. But with increased uncertainty of water due to climate change, there is a need to revive springs to provide drinking water to the local population.
In 2018, ACF partnered with NABARD to build a springshed in Mitiyan at Nalagarh District, a hilly terrain situated at an altitude of 3,300ft. This area was known to have an acute water scarcity for drinking as well as agriculture and this spring would provide a drinking water source to 6 villages.
There was a need to control rainfall runoff and groundwater recharge and storage, by working with the topography, vegetation cover and soil of the area. To ensure sustainability of the project, a Village Development Committee (VDC) was formed with 10 members including 4 women members and ACF took them on an exposure visit to Dehradun, to see an existing springshed development in place.
Getting to work, Sharamdan (a community volunteering work) was organized to collect the stones for construction of crate wire wall for the safety of spring at village Riya and a drain was excavated at the construction site. With capital works complete, the VDC is now monitoring the water discharge of two springs to assess outcomes.
2. New Projects in Agriculture
In order to increase profits and capitalise on market prices, there is a need for farmers to try new lines of produce, and in Himachal Pradesh, farmers are adopting new approaches to find ways to enhance incomes.
With the market rate of radish seed Rs. 8200 per quintal (as compared to Rs. 1800 per quintal for wheat) ACF encouraged 53 Farmers to adopt this initiative across 246 bigha land. Also the cost of planting is far less - providing a good opportunity for increased profit margins for farmers. Additionally, 6 farmers have revived peanut cultivation after a hiatus of 20 years and 15 farmers have replaced maize with Marigold cultivation which is a more profitable crop.
ACF has encouraged farmers to adopt line sowing of Maize through the use of a seed drill. This technique uses less seed and also increases yield and so 125 bigha of land has been used to trial this approach.
Similarly, a demonstration of direct sowing of wheat seed through zero drill was conducted to show farmers a way to save Rs. 1000 per acre during field preparation, by adopting this technique. This technique also reduces pollution, as earlier farmers burnt the paddy residue causing environmental hazard to the community.
3. Liquid Waste Management - Health Initiative
290 households are benefiting from the introduction of a Liquid waste management trial in 2 villages where 70% of open drains have been covered to prevent contamination of drinking water. This health initiative began when ACF took local village health committee members on an exposure visit to see first-hand the impact of such measures.
Underground pipelines were created, connected to each house so that all the waste water flows correctly and inspection chambers were created at strategic points. Construction of soak pits is in process to avoid waste water discharge openly. The result is a reduction in the case of malaria, diarrhea and typhoid, nil contamination of drinking water and community is benefiting from increased width of streets.
4. New Courses on Offer at SEDI
SEDI introduced two new courses based on market requirement - GST Tally was introduced in SEDI Darlaghat and Quality Control Assistant Training in Nalagarh.
A 3 month course titled, Tally Ace ERP 9 & GST was initiated in collaboration with Tally Education Private Limited. The certification program is targeted at candidates who wish to venture into the domain of Accounts, Finance, Auditing, Banking and Entrepreneurship. Till date, 66 trainees have been trained and 48 placed in companies likes Tally Ltd, Alliance Pvt Ltd, CA Consultancies and many more.
Quality Control Assistant - Visual Inspection was initiated inNalagarh in collaboration with Alkem Foundation for training support, on the job training and placement. This course was initiated as the region is well known in South Asia as a pharmaceutical hub for manufacturing drugs - an industrial corridor that seeks skilled manpower. With just 2 months classroom training and 15 days On the Job Training in Alkem Laboratories, 20 students have been trained and 16 are currently placed in companies like Alkem, Glenmark, Sentiss Pharma, USV Pharma etc.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about our new projects in the region of Himachal Pradesh.