Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai is a destination for cancer patients from all around the country. These patients, however, are forced to live on the street due to a lack of adequate living options. The patients are already at the end of their wits for bearing the burden of a deadly disease such as cancer, on top of that such mismanagement at the facility breaks their strength to fight against it even more.
It is not an unusual sight outside this cancer facility to see patients gathered outside with IV in one hand, waiting for admission in the hospital. The sidewalks in the region serves as an ecosystem for the patients and their relatives, for this is where they eat, sleep and live. The limited capacity of the hospital has forced many of the patients to sustain this lifestyle for over a year, making the scenario much direr.
In a CSR initiative by L&T Realty, lakhs have been spent to install safety Kerb stones on the pavement where these patients are forced to stay to get treated for deadly diseases like cancer with an aim to beautify the region and improve road safety. However, in the name of the stone, plastic is used as the material to build these safety kerbs. Let us look at how safe are the safety kerbs installed by L&T Realty CSR.
L&T Realty’s CSR Initiative for Beautification and Road Safety
L&T Realty has stirred up controversy regarding its CSR initiative wherein the company has installed the safety kerb stones made of plastic with an aim to beautify the road and improve road safety with claims of unnecessary spending of resources. Normally, a CSR initiative has a set of beneficiaries who appreciate the efforts made by the company. However, the beneficiaries of L&T Realty CSR initiative who were expecting positive change are dissatisfied by the company’s efforts and are questioning L&T Realty CSR Initiatives. In an exclusive conversation with The CSR Journal team, the patients and attendants sleeping on the sidewalk on which these safety kerbstones have been installed, have claimed that CSR funds should be used for positive change in people’s lives, while this initiative has not benefitted them at all. Ranjan Kumar, who came from Bihar for the treatment of his son, said that there is a need for arrangements to be made for the relatives of patients in this place. Replacing the stone blocks with plastic in this manner does not benefit anyone at all. Satish Kumar said, “CSR is meant to work towards public welfare. This CSR initiative has not done any of that, and the plastic blocks that are installed are already getting damaged.”
Safety Kerbs Damaged
When the team of The CSR Journal visited the spot, they found that the condition of the safety kerb blocks was deteriorating. These blocks were inaugurated in the month of January, earlier this year. Within a span of few months, by April they have already started experiencing damage. If not mended well, these blocks will further disintegrate leaving the pavement back to the way it was in the coming few months.
When The CSR Journal team enquired about the Safety Kerb Stone CSR Initiative with L&T Realty, we were told by the company that “keeping in view the road safety at the intersection and sidewalk, LED safety kerb stones have been installed so that the pedestrians, women and motorists can get enough light which would prevent many accidents.”
In order to investigate the spot at night, The CSR Journal visited the area again and found that the place was already lit up in the light of BMC’s road lights on the road and footpath. The team saw no need for these extra lights and believe that instead of installing safety kerbstones on the footpath, it would have been better if some arrangements were made for the people sleeping on this footpath. L&T Realty has ensured us that they will take this feedback from The CSR Journal seriously and will work on building the necessary infrastructure for the seating facilities resting place for patients and their relatives.
With this assurance, we would like to conclude by saying that the corporates need to be more proactive and responsible before using CSR funds and they should be used wisely in order to bring positive changes to society.