Kolkata is rich in culture and heritage but fares poorly in CSR. Trends show that only companies that operate in and around the city tend to invest their corporate social responsibility corpus in any projects. We present the ones making the most impact with their CSR programmes in Kolkata.
In many parts of India, menstruation is still a taboo. Girls from low socio-economic classes still shy away from talking about the subject and some even refer to it as a ‘problem’. Dollar Industries Limited, in association with NGO SEED launched the #BeFreeBeYou campaign as a part of the company’s CSR initiative. The campaign aimed to improve the menstrual hygiene of underprivileged girls, where sanitary napkin vending machines were installed in Government schools across West Bengal. The first phase of the menstrual hygiene campaign witnessed an installation of 100 sanitary napkin vending machines across Kolkata and Suburban areas. These machines provided good quality sanitary napkins at a nominal cost.
Dollar Industries initiated a CSR activity starting 2017 to serve people with fresh cold drinking water to cap the Kolkata heat. Starting from Dumdum Police Station area and Dumdum Private Road Bus Stand area, 26 water huts were inaugurated by the Chairman of Dollar Industries Limited, Din Dayal Gupta at different regions of Kolkata. The company has also provided Blue Star Water Cooler machines to Sidharth United Social Welfare Mission Orphanage located at Chinar Park, Teghoria and Kamardanga Police Station.
As a part of company’s CSR initiative, Dollar Industries Limited celebrated Children’s Day with underprivileged children who reside in footpath of Gariahat area in Kolkata, in association with an NGO called ‘Prachesta’. In the past, the company has organized The Kolkata Half Marathon – The Royal Bengal Run, in association with Amity. With this association, Dollar Industries supported underprivileged kids of Amitasha, with free education, meals, books, uniforms and holistic care.
During the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the company joined hands with Kolkata Police and distributed food and medical equipment to the underprivileged across 60 wards. They distributed 6,000 kg rice, 40,000 packets of biscuits, 40,000 masks and 10,000 soap bars to the people in need amid nationwide lockdown. Additionally, Dollar Industries provided food and shelter to 300 migrant workers at their manufacturing unit at Tirupur during the lockdown.
CESC Limited is a flagship company of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group. It is engaged in electricity distribution with embedded generation facility, across 567 sq km of its licensed areas in West Bengal. Over the years, CESC has taken up several CSR projects around Kolkata for the benefit of local communities. Many of these projects are ongoing in nature.
In 2019-20, CESC received the coveted Golden Peacock Award 2019 in recognition of its CSR initiatives. Apart from this, the company received the ICC Social Impact Award 2020 for ‘Suswasthya Project, Grow Care India CSR Award 2019 for ‘Roshni Project, and Apex India CSR Excellence Award 2019 for Urja Chetna Project.
RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group CSR Trust has taken up a CSR project to set up a school in the Alipore area of Kolkata and has purchased a 1.2 acre land for this purpose. The company continued its partnership with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation for maintaining the green verges in certain areas of Kolkata. In 2019-20, it developed a park for children suffering from thalassemia and other critical diseases at the Medical College & Hospital. Another green initiative was the installation of pet bottle shredders at six Metro stations.
Nirmal Kolkata is a sanitation Project in Chetla slum area in Kolkata, implemented in partnership with BTL EPC Limited. Under the project, 24 bio toilets were installed to prevent open defecation. The project has benefited 247 households comprising 878 beneficiaries.
Saksham is a skill development and employment generation programme for youth in Tiljala-Topsia area of the city. Two centres running under the project are providing training on basic computing with advance Microsoft Excel, tailoring, beauty therapy, air conditioner repairing, and driving. Annually 300 youths are trained at these centres. A skill development programme on basic computing with advance Excel and retail sales management has also begun.
Hamari Awaaz is a comprehensive community on child protection in urban slums, which is being implemented in the Tiljala area in partnership with CINI. The CSR project aims at creating child-friendly communities in urban slums by mobilising, sensitising and empowering communities to fight against child labour and other forms of child abuse. The project has reached out to 9,580 households.
Housing company Siddha Group has been working with the police and local officials in Kolkata on a host of CSR initiatives.
Every year, Siddha Group organizes 10 to 12 eye camps in and around Kolkata, where they reach out to nearly 3,000 people. All these camps are held in association with Sankara Nethralaya, Mission for Vision and the local administration. To improve the quality of life of the labourers working in the area of operations, the company organizes preliminary health check-up camps where workers get a consultation and data analytics reports.
Life Skill Training Programme (LSTP) is a multi-component tool addressing social, psychological, cognitive, and attitudinal factors associated with daily use of various substances. Since 2015, Siddha Group has initiated a series of LSTP designed especially for the labourers working in ongoing projects. The key objective of such a programme is to bring behaviour change communication (BCC) among them to enhance personal competence, and resistance to substance use.
26th June is marked as ‘International Day against Illicit Trafficking & Drug Abuse’. To fight against the menace of drugs, Siddha teamed up with Kolkata police to raise awareness and to educate the masses and youth about substance abuse. Being one of the core committee members of the narcotics cell, every year Siddha participates in a month long activity schedule. Siddha organized inter school competitions on debate, draw, essay writing, poster and rally where school students, police officials, members of the Siddha family and celebrities joined together to sensitize people.
The Siddha Group awards merit scholarships for girls and boys to pursue higher education every year. The company also provides free study materials to students. It has adopted four schools Shri Gandhi Vidyalaya, Mukti Foundation, Chhatrachaya, and I care for Kids to provide quality education.
The Siddha CSR team teamed up with six municipalities of Kolkata – Barahnagar, Kamarhati, Panihati, Khardah, Titagarh, Brrackpore – and the Cossipore Prudential Youth welfare Association (CPYWA) for a road tree plantation drive. The team planted 1,250 trees on both sides of B T Road – from Tala to Barrackpore and 200 trees at Alipore Road, Kolkata.
Transnational diversified conglomerate Balmer Lawrie’s CSR initiatives are driven by two flagship programmes – Balmer Lawrie Initiative for Self Sustenance (BLISS) and Samaj Mein Balmer Lawrie (SAMBAL). While the first programme is directed at providing and improving the long-term economic sustenance of the underprivileged, the second CSR programme tries to improve the living standards and quality of life of people in and around the company’s work centres.
The company contributed Rs. 25 lakh each to the Corpus fund of Narayana Hrudayalaya Charitable Trust and Saroj Gupta Cancer and Research Institute located at Kolkata for treatment of poor patients affected with critical diseases.
Balmer Lawrie sponsored the Fit India Plogging Run organised by Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) Ballygunge in Kolkata. Plogging is a combination of jogging with picking up litter as you go along. The run started from AJC Bose Road and culminated at Ballygunge Circular Road covering more than 2 km. Students, parents, NCC Cadets, teachers and all other stakeholders of KV Ballygunge participated in the plogging run and cleaned up the streets simultaneously.
TIL supports a Weekly Health Camp programme – run in collaboration with HelpAge India – for the elderly and underprivileged people in the Kamarhatty – Panihati area of Kolkata. Services include medical consultation, free geriatric medicines, basic diagnostics, etc. for the beneficiaries, a large percentage of whom are subsistence workers and daily wage earners.
Suffering from conditions such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, joint pain and gastric problems – which have emerged, over the years as the most common and predominant ailments – many of the beneficiaries are dependent on the Weekly Health Camp as their primary source of treatment.