Kolkata, Aug. 25
THE Indian Leaf Tobacco Development Division (ILTD) of ITC
Ltd has taken up a major social forestry programme to create sustainable livelihood for
poor tribals in about eight mandals of Khammam district.
The project involves the development of 5,500 acres of
wasteland. The plan is to take this up to 10,000 acres by March 2004.
Mr Janardhan Reddy, CEO of ILTD, told Business Line
that the total beneficiaries of this project now number 2,513. He said the company has
been spending around Rs 1 crore annually on community development activities in Nellore,
Prakasam, Guntur, Khammam, Krishna and East and West Godavari districts. He said the
activities covered providing infrastructure to village schools, community health,
equipment for hospitals, construction of bus shelters, bore-wells and development of slum
areas. ITC has also taken up soil and water conservation projects in Ponnaluru and
Dammapeta mandals of Prakasam and Khammam districts respectively. Mr Reddy said the aim of
the project was to stabilise/increase farmers' incomes, and raise productivity through
soil enrichment and water conservation measures. Benefiting around 3,400 villages, with a
catchment area of 2,125 acres, this initiative is expected to facilitate storage of 850
m.cft of water and reclamation of 2,500 acres of wasteland. The plan was to scale it up
during 2003-04 to cover an additional 2,275 acres of catchment area and benefit 3,000 more
villagers in the area.
An Integrated Community Development Programme (ICDP)
sponsored by the company is already in operation, since 2001, in Anaparti (East Godavari
district) and Chirala (where ITC has its green leaf threshing plants) and Vetapalem in
Prakasam districts. This covers around 1,200 women in 30 villages with self-help groups,
skills training and employment generation, besides basic education and health as the main
Chaitanya Development Society (CDS), a Guntur-based NGO,
with assistance from ITC, has launched a major Integrated Coastal Management project in 10
villages of Prakasam district, located in the coastal and cyclone prone areas. The project
has been conceived to provide an opportunity to the community to face challenges of
cyclones in a formal network to safeguard both assets and lives.
According to Mr S.V.S.R. Reddy, Factory Personnel Manager
at Chirala GLT plant, the company's intervention in the area was unique in that
sustainable community development work has been taken up along with a disaster
preparedness training programme. The aim, he clarified, was to prepare a band of persons
in the villages to act as motivators and coordinate with members of the groups in facing
such disasters. The programme content involves providing training for revising the village
contingency plans, formation of action groups, defining the role of various action groups
and the precautions to be taken to face the natural calamities.
A novel idea by way of a "Vipathu Atyavasara
Nidhi" (VAN) has been promoted by CDS as part of the coastal management project, for
motivating the community members to contribute voluntarily either in cash or kind to the
nidhi, to enable the village level mitigation committee to provide relief measures
immediately after the havoc without waiting for external aid to arrive. CDS has promoted
VAN in four villages. CDS, with ITC's help, has also organised an entrepreneurship
development programme for the youth and fisherwomen in these coastal villages.
Mr Reddy said the programme has helped to create awareness
towards dry fish marketing, identification, of urban markets for dry fish, price variance
between rural and urban markets, and hygienic packing of fish to attract customers.