Coimbatore is the second-largest industrial city in the state of Tamil Nadu (after Chennai). Situated along the border of Kerala, in the northwest of Tamil Nadu, this city is rich in agricultural wealth and natural resources. The city is known for being a hub for entrepreneurs. When Kongunad fell to the British along with the rest of Tamil Nadu, its name changed to Coimbatore. Although the city is known as Coimbatore in general, in Tamil, it is called Kovai.
The rich black soil and red soil of the region has contributed to Coimbatore’s flourishing agricultural sector. The Development of Hydro electricity from the Pykara Falls in the 1930s led to a cotton boom in Coimbatore. The red soil, availability of water and pleasant climate made cotton farming more lucrative. Naturally, the district is the largest producer of cotton in the state. There are more than 30,000 small, medium and large-scale industries and textile mills here. Coimbatore is also famous for the manufacture of motor pump sets and varied engineering goods. Being one of the greatest industrial cities in India, CSR in Coimbatore is backed by large companies. Here are some of the top CSR projects in the city and district.
CSR in Education
Talking about Corporate Social Responsibility in Education, a latest survey by UNICEF has revealed that government schools in Coimbatore and Chennai receive more CSR funds as opposed to educationally backward districts like the Nilgiris, Perambalur, and Kallakurichi. According to the survey, schools in Coimbatore district have received Rs 11 crore funding in the last three years.
CSR of Larsen & Toubro
Larsen & Toubro, through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, handed over two Integrated Community Development Projects (ICDP) at the hands of Mr. Shaffe Ahamed, Deputy Director, Department of Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu last year. The projects were launched in 2015 by Mr. Tha Murugan, Additional Director / Project Director, District Rural Development Authority. L&T through its CSR work has been realising its vision of building India’s social infrastructure by ensuring water availability followed by interventions in Agriculture, Sanitation and Education in rural areas.
L&T’s ICDP covers 2,028 hectares (ha) in Madukkarai and 1,585 ha in the Sulur blocks of the Coimbatore district. The program was deployed in partnership with the local communities led primarily by women. Starting with soil and water conservation, the programme was extended in a phased manner to develop sanitation facilities and strengthen government schooling infrastructure.
CSR of Netcon Technologies
Netcon Technologies, under its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative has reportedly donated funds to build an Emergency Room at Thudiyalur Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in Coimbatore. The 220-sq.ft. Emergency Room located in Ward 2 of the Health Centre was inaugurated in March this year. The room is meant to provide first aid for minor and moderate-level accidents.
Traffic Training Park
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) and Coimbatore City Police celebrated the 7th year anniversary of its Traffic Training Park at Balasundram Road, Coimbatore in January this year. With an aim to spread road safety awareness among the citizens, HMSI in collaboration with Coimbatore City Police inaugurated the first traffic training park of Tamil Nadu in Coimbatore in January 2017. The traffic park simulates real road conditions like traffic signals, zebra crossings and speed breakers etc. Since the inception of the park, HMSI’s road safety instructors have reportedly educated over 2.6 lakh people of Coimbatore through its daily trainings for all age groups.
ITC – Water Stewardship Programme
The Water Stewardship Programme (WSP) from CSR of ITC Ltd. is designed to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and improve the livelihoods of rural poor in vulnerable rain-fed areas through integrated watershed management. The programme was launched in partnership with Coodu Trust back in August 2015. ITC’s paperboards factory in Coimbatore received the Alliance for Water Stewardship platinum-level recognition for this project in 2019.
The objective of the Water Stewardship Programme is to harness locally available natural resources in an optimum manner to achieve the overall goal of sustainable development. These objectives can be realized by conserving, protecting and restoring the ecological balance by developing natural resources and by preventing soil erosion, degradation of topsoil cover, regeneration of natural vegetation, rainwater harvesting and recharging of the groundwater table. The activities for resource development and usage have been planned to promote farming and allied activities to promote local livelihoods while ensuring resource conservation and regeneration.
During the project period, efforts are being taken to conserve soil and moisture of the region through Trench-cum-Bund, Ring Bund, vegetative barriers, erosion control measures, and construction of various water harvesting structures in the project locations. Afforestation is another important component, under which Agro forestry and Agro Horticulture are taken up and developed as block, avenue and bund plantations. Capacity Building of farmers and experiential training through field demonstrations are imparted by experts from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
Lakshmi Machine Works – Village Development Project
Lakshmi Machine Works is among the biggest contributors for CSR in Coimbatore. Under the Village Development Project, Lakshmi Machine Works Ltd (LMW) focuses on the development of rural communities particularly that of the Tribal population living in Coimbatore District. LMW collaborates with Ganga Medical Hospital and Ganga Spine & Rehabilitation Centre in Coimbatore to support surgery for spine injury and subsequent rehabilitation, plastic surgery, hand reconstructive surgery, reconstructive microsurgery and burn victims. During the rehabilitation process, the patients are supported in vocational skill development to help them establish alternative means of income generation to offset loss of employment. Special equipment such as wheelchairs (motorized/manual), crutches, standing frames etc. are provided to the patients on need basis.
The tribal settlements mostly consisting of Irular community, with whom LMW is working mostly reside at the fringes of forest areas, with few located within the forest range of Coimbatore district. These forests are home to elephants, bears, jackals and other animals. The Government has ensured that the tribal settlements receive basic facilities like free housing, free electricity, subsidized ration etc. Despite the best efforts of the forest department to mitigate encounters with the wildlife, wild animals venture into human habitations during times of drought, especially in the summer season.
The villages are already installed with traditional electrical streetlights. Due to the limited number of these lights, adequate lighting is not available throughout each of the villages resulting in blind spots. To mitigate this scenario, LMW has installed Solar Powered LED Street Lights of high capacity in select villages at strategic locations through which adequate lighting and visibility is available around the villages which helps the people to detect the movement of animals near the villages at night. Over the years LMW has installed over 93 solar-powered streetlights in the tribal villages located in Palamalai and Anaikatti hills.
Education and technical skill development amongst the rural children and youth are key aspects that need to be focused on in order to equip them with the necessary skill sets needed to take leverage of the growing job demands. Lakshmi Machine Works Ltd understands this and under the CSR initiative has supported in the infrastructure development of the Government Industrial Training Institute located in Thudiyalur, Coimbatore. For the benefit of the students, a dining hall with a seating capacity for 80 individuals was established within the premises in 2020. The existing toilets in the institute were renovated and revamped to meet the current requirements of the institution.
C.R.I. – Sanitation Project
Fluid management solutions company C.R.I. has successfully constructed 300 individual toilets in association with the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation. For the open defecation free (ODC-free) initiative, C.R.I. extensively surveyed households and open defecation spots. Those who cannot afford to build a toilet due to poor economic conditions or lack of social awareness were identified for the CSR project. Based on the findings, C.R.I. has constructed 300 individual Swachh Bharath Mission toilets in the area of Saravanampatti and Chinnavedampatti of Coimbatore.
Pricol – We Care
Established in 1975, Pricol provides leading automobile and industrial brands with precision-engineered technological solutions. The company has initiated We Care as the umbrella for its CSR activities. As part of We Care, the company organises a variety of health and education events and camps. Pricol We Care conducted 21 Eye camps in government schools in and around Coimbatore, in which more 1300 children benefitted. Four Eye camps were conducted for the general public in and around the city in which nearly 1000 people benefitted. Deserving people were are also supported with surgeries. Physiotherapy equipment was provided to the Rapid Action Force (RAF) in Vellalore, Coimbatore. Water Purifiers with UV and Ozone technology were distributed at 5 primary health centres at Tirupur and Coimbatore.