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VA Tech Wabag plans watershed projects in TN, WB

Chennai : VA Tech Wabag, India's largest water and wastewater technology company, has charted plans to undertake several watershed projects across Tamil Nadu and West Bengal under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.

For Tamil Nadu, Chennai-based VA Tech Wabag has tied up with state-run agriculture and rural development institution Nabard along with three NGOs to implement watershed development projects in the state. VA Tech Wabag said it would provide grant assistance for Rs 2.25 crore to three reputed NGOs for the projects, while a matching contribution would be made by Nabard, taking the overall amount to Rs 4.50 crore.

A company official said the projects would be taken up over the next four years and the amount of Rs 4.5 crore would be spent to cover 9200 acres in three districts of the state.

The proposed projects would be taken up across Virudhunagar, Tuticorin and Dindigul districts and will be implemented by the three NGOs - Social Education Economical Development Society (SEEDS), Vidiyel Trust and Centre for Improved Rural Health and Environmental Education (CIRHEP).

"The projects have been aimed at enhancing of livelihood security, water conservation, employment generation as well as prevention of migration. Also, they would lead to long term sustainability through community participation for maintenance of community assets like various water harvesting structures", the company official added.

The project beneficiaries in the state Tamil Nadu would be Sinnur watershed in Pudur block of Thoothukudi district; Erumaikulam watershed of Narikudi block in Virudhunagar district and Kannivadi watershed in Reddiarchartram block of Dindigul district.

"These projects are expected to create a positive impact for around 2500 households in the chosen areas", the official added.

VA Tech Wabag has also entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with New Delhi-based Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation (BRLF), an independent not-for-profit organisation set up by the Central Government for implementation of watershed development project in West benal.

Under the MoU, VA Tech Wabag would provide grant assistance to BRLF to the tune of Rs 2.50 crore, to be spread over a period of four years.

The total cost of this watershed project is estimated to be about Rs 352.00 crore, of which the West Bengal Government would bring the main share of Rs 336.22 crore through the MGNREGA funds. Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation would bring in Rs 11.22 crore.

The proposed project would be implemented in the poorest parts of the state in the districts in Pashchimaanchal – Purulia, Bankura, West Midnapore, Bardhaman, Birbhum and Jhargram, covering 54 blocks and 452 Gram Panchayats.

The project in West Bengal is expected to lead to restoration of degraded land and soil enrichment; in-situ water harvesting; making communities climate resilient; productivity enhancement and community asset creation through employment generation.

The project beneficiaries would be 5 lakhs households, of whom 80 per cent would be from the Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Class and Other Backward Communities (OBC) categories.

VA Tech Wabag said its total CSR investment in only watershed development projects is around Rs 7.25 crore now, covering five districts in Tamil Nadu and six districts in West Bengal.

Last year, the company had tied up with Nabard for similar projects for a value of around Rs 5 crore including the matching contribution and work on those have already progressed.

Overall, coupled with the company's earlier tie-up with Nabard, the large scale intervention in water stewardship covers five districts in Tamil Nadu and brings an area of 20,000 acres under watershed, benefiting as many as 7000 households at a total cost of around Rs 9.50 crore.

Meanwhile, Lanxess India Private Limited, the wholly-owned Indian subsidiary of German specialty chemicals major Lanxess, has said it has undertaken three projects aimed at creating a sustainable environment in & around Nagda in Ujjain district in Madhya Pradesh as part of its CSR activities.

The company recently signed a MoU with Nagda Municipal Corporation and has committed to undertake the maintenance of overhead water tank in Mehatwas, development & maintenance of Nagda municipal garden and installation of solar street lights in Mehatwas & Durgapura.

To ensure better infrastructure for distribution of the current water supply system in the town, Lanxess will support in the repair and renovation of the pipeline distribution and strengthening of column structure of the overhead water tank in Mehatwas. This is expected to directly benefit a population of over 2400 in the area.

FROM GREECE TO INDIA, PEOPLE SAFEGUARD WATER FOR THE COMMON GOOD

The successes in Greece and Indonesia demonstrate civil society wants to keep water in public hands. And yet the World Bank continues its dogmatic promotion of privatization.

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