SAIL develops model steel villages to unleash initiatives in sustainable development. All these villages are in backward areas and are deprived of basic needs of a quality life.
Sustainable development seems to be part and parcel of state-run Steel Authority of India Limited's (SAIL) social responsibility agenda in the country.
The company has taken up development of 79 villages spanning the eight states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal as model steel villages (MSVs).
All these villages are in backward areas and are deprived of basic needs of a quality life. The development work undertaken in these villages include medical and health services, education, roads, connectivity, sanitation, community centres, income generation, sports facilities. The coverage of population in these adopted villages includes 17.44 per cent scheduled castes and 27.38 per cent of scheduled tribes.
In these villages SAIL is creating physical and social infrastructure for their overall developmental growth and self sustainable model of villages. Most of the residents here did not have access to clean drinking water and drinking water supply has been provided with boring, overhead water tanks and tapped water supply to the households. Primary Health Centres have been set up and operationalised to address the most neglected but essential requirement of health in rural India. Regular health camps, eye camps and free distribution of medicines are common phenomenon in MSVs.
Interestingly, persons diagnosed with major illness in the camps are referred for treatment in SAIL's super specialty hospitals located at its steel plants.
According to SAIL chairman, C.S. Verma, in the target villages it was found that poor quality of primary education, lack of basic infrastructure like toilet and potable water and high drop outs are major concern and to cope with these issues, SAIL has constructed extra class rooms, toilets and water facilities.
School uniforms, books, copies, stationeries, and lunch boxes are provided to the needy as well as programmes of advocacy for primary and adult education are organised. Scholarships are also provided to meritorious students of the villages.
Mr. Verma said that for this activity to become self sustainable, the company has introduced income generation schemes, livelihood programmes, self help groups, training programmes, with technical and financial assistance arranged for the beneficiaries. The income generation schemes include rural skill based activities like fisheries, poultry, goatery, sewing, knitting, harvesting of mushrooms. Marketing of products and their influx in local markets are also supported. Social audit is a vital part of the development activities in these model steel villages and for this purpose gram sabhas are always taken into confidence for all the activities.