Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Tata Steel: Towards a Sustainable, United Future

Himalayan Paths

By A K Srivastava

On June 7 2022, a Jamshedpur Citizens Forum delegation visited Tata Steel’s Noamundi Iron Mine. The six-person delegation included A. K. Srivastava, President, Jamshedpur Citizens Forum, H. B. Singh Arsi, General Secretary, Jamshedpur Citizens Forum, Vijay Verma, Secretary, Jamshedpur Citizens Forum,  J N Singh, Member, Jamshedpur Citizens Forum, Angad Tiwary, Member, Jamshedpur Citizens Forum, and Rajeev Ranjan, Member. The delegation on their one-day tour visited various locations in and around Noamundi.

The team visited the Mining Viewpoint, which overlooks the mining operations of the Noamundi Iron Ore Mines. The team also saw the newly appointed female Heavy Earth Machinery operators, employed by Tata Steel Mining Limited under the Prakashini Scheme which gave the local women population the chance to enter a technical field like machine operations, which is a male-dominated area of work.

On their one-day tour, the delegation covered various major projects that have been undertaken by Tata Steel, which included a 3.13 MW Solar Power Plant, the Rainwater Harvesting Park and the SABAL centre.

The 3.13 MW Solar Power Plant is a collaborative effort by Tata Steel and Tata Power to mitigate the impact of climate change through sustainable solutions. The Rainwater Harvesting Park is another step towards sustainability. The park is a set-up designed to collect runoff rainwater and use this water to recharge the ground water table through various interventions. The park also has a rich collection of different plants, herbs, succulents and cacti and a rich collection of butterflies in the Butterfly Park.

The delegation also witnessed the functioning of the SABAL centre set up by Tata Steel. SABAL, launched in 2019, is an initiative by Tata Steel Foundation, the CSR wing of Tata Steel, to empower Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) through skill development and need-based training in order to create livelihood opportunities for the community. Tata Steel also works with PwDs to create an ecosystem that is sensitised and aware of the needs of the community.

The delegation also visited the Murga Mahadev Temple, where efforts were undertaken by Tata Steel to build a connecting bridge to make the temple more accessible to the visitors and changing rooms were also constructed to ensure the safety and security of women visitors.

Under the guidance of Nishikant Singh, the delegation witnessed Tata Steel’s effort to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable production and enrich biodiversity. Artificial nests were built as an initiative working towards the conservation, preservation and restoration of biodiversity.

The Jamshedpur Citizens’ Forum also witnesses the WADI project, a collaborative effort of Tata Steel and NABARD. The WADI project is an initiative to promote sustainable livelihood opportunities for rural communities. Many small farmers have to migrate to big cities to find ways to earn a livelihood. The WADI project is an attempt to not only create sustainable employment opportunities for farmers in the form of skill and enterprise development as well as providing training in sustainable agricultural practices and assist them in developing orchards.

Tata Steel’s effort to also involve the local communities and productively engage with them to look for solutions that can help the community is something that all big corporations should take note of. Tata Steel understands the importance of community engagement for their initiatives. The number of private-public collaborative efforts launched by Tata Steel and the Government of Jharkhand also shows the significant impact corporations and government can make if efforts are made to work together.

Tata Steel’s endeavour in working towards the empowerment of local communities in its operational areas and also working towards mitigating the impact of climate change through various sustainable initiatives was appreciated by the Jamshedpur Citizens’ Forum delegation.

Jamshedpur Citizens Forum would also like to thank all the Tata Steel officers involved in the successful execution of this visit and appreciate their efforts in making the visit comfortable and transparent. Special thanks are to be given to General Manager, Atul Bhatnagar, Nishikant Singh, the Project Manager and Tour Guide, and Deepak Srivastava, Senior Officer and Organiser.

Jamshedpur Citizens Forum hopes that Tata Steel continues to promote the holistic development of our local communities and our environment in order to achieve an equitable, sustainable ecosystem.

(A K Srivastava is President of Jamshedpur Citizen Forum. The views expressed are personal.)

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