@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
Korba, 28 Apr 2020: India’s iconic aluminium producing company BALCO, engaging with various stakeholders, has reached over 2,50,000 people through its Covid-19 prevention and safety measures. Vedanta BALCO is taking extensive steps to ensure that the community, associate partners, employees, other stakeholders and all their families are equipped and sensitized to respond to COVID-19. The team has made generous contributions to the community by distributing PPE kits, sanitizers, food, as well as conducting sanitization drives in the district.
While the BALCO plant is running operations with minimum workforce and limited resources, adhering to all the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the central and state authorities, the organization has marshalled all its resources to undertake preventive measures for its eemployees, business associates and community at large in, around and far beyond its plant area.
BALCO has extensively supported the local communities with safety kits, dry ration as well as cooked food for the needy, fumigation and sanitization of public places, supporting local livelihoods, supporting local hospitals with critical medical gear and equipment and much more.
There has been much appreciation and acknowledgment from key policy makers and government officials on BALCO’s rigorous efforts. The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Shri Bhupesh Baghel, has appreciated BALCO’s timely and generous support to the state for COVID preparedness. Mr. Abhijit Pati, CEO & Director, BALCO expressed his gratitude to the CM and assured him that BALCO stands firmly with the state administration in the fight against COVID-19 as they monitor the situation closely and remain committed to extend all help possible.
The company has undertaken several measures for COVID response and prevention in BALCO and surrounding areas:
● Set-up of a 100-bed isolation ward at ESIC Hospital, Korba, following the guidelines & support of district health authorities & two other venues of Isolation wards at hotels at Korba.
● Over 20,000 masks,1000 PPE kits, 500 bottles of sanitizers and 5000 surgical masks distributed freely to the peripheral communities and local hospitals.
● A month’s supply of ration provided to over 500 families in need, old age homes etc.
● Local livelihoods are also being supported when sources of livelihoods are scarce. Over 25 self-help group members are being provided free of cost training, sewing machines and raw materials as required to sew reusable masks, so they have a regular source of income to support their families at this time. Similarly, local farmers who have been trained by BALCO in modern agricultural practices are supplying fresh produce to the Balconagar residents in what is an effective symbiotic association.
● Regular screening of suspected cases being conducted by competent officials with due reporting to District Collector and Chief Medical Health Officers. Medicines being delivered at doorstep to minimize public movement.
● 1000 litres of WHO-grade sanitizer prepared inhouse when there was a shortage in the local markets and consumed by the plant, distributed to hospitals, communities, and used in sprinklers at the plant entry gate.
● Thermal-gun temperature screening, provision of proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs), social-distancing, frequent handwashing, heightened standards of sanitation & hygiene and other preventive measures have been undertaken for all personnel entering and working in the plant.
• Over 1000 employees of BALCO have voluntarily contributed one day’s salary for COVID-19 relief.
● Enhanced surveillance and restricted movement inside the plant and township premises to protect the employees and their families.
● Fumigation and disinfection of all prominent public places, local areas, public offices and township are being undertaken.
● Immuno-boosting food and supplements have been made available and provided to employees, associate partners, and community members.
● Over the past month, the local populace has been sensitized through systematic campaigns while also providing counselling sessions on COVID prevention. All digital and print communication mediums have extensively been used to disseminate information on COVID-19, as well as deploying vehicles for audio broadcasts.
Other noteworthy stakeholders like Amarjeet Bhagat, Minister – Food, Civil Supply, Consumer Protection, Planning, Economics & Statistics, the Mayor of Korba, all the sarpanches of the various peripheral villages, law & order professionals, the media fraternity and industry bodies such as the CII have echoed their sincere appreciation towards BALCO for being the strongest support partner to the government machinery and district administration.
The company is continuing its preventive measures for the local populace in collaboration with the district administration, health workers, its employees and their families, business associates and NGO partners for wider sensitization to fight the pandemic. Several employees have volunteered to take care of food and medicine requirements of underprivileged families that have been adversely impacted by loss of livelihood due to social-distancing.