Bhubaneswar: Utkal Alumina International Ltd(UAIL), a unit of the Aditya Birla Group having its alumina refinery at Doraguda in Odisha’s Rayagad district, has initiated a project at Wadi as part of its CSR engagement.

Utkal Alumina Jana Seva Trust in partnership with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has launched Utkal Wadi project in 2018 with a six year tenure for implementation.

The project entails a range of activities that are geared towards sustainable livelihood and help make a difference to the populace.  The CSR team with the oversight of Utkal Alumina president and unit head N. Nagesh is led by Siba Shankar Mohapatra.

The Wadi Projects extends to 424 acres and 76 landless families.  Under it, each beneficiary gets to develop a mixed fruit orchard of mango and cashew in one acre — 54 cashew and 18 mango grafts – with support of income generation from goat rearing.

The Utkal Alumina president Nagesh said, “The project started in 2018-19 with an aim to double the income level of beneficiaries at the end of the project period. We are quite optimistic that the project will bring about a phenomenal change in the income of farmers’ in the coming days”.

The beneficiaries take to different vegetables as inter-crop in the Wadi plots. This adds to their income before reaping dividends from fruit plants after four years of plantation.

The progress report is very encouraging. So far, transplantation is done for 369 acres in 16 villages, with 118 acres in 2018-19 and 251 acres in 2019-20. The rest will be covered in the coming year.

Furthermore, modern scientific goat rearing is also adopted to generate income for the landless families. The plan of action includes strengthening of the existing women groups, reduction of drudgery of the family of the beneficiary and other health awareness modules.

During an inspection visit, Nabard AGM N. L. Sahoo termed the initiative of Utkal Alumina as “unique” and expressed hope that it will prove to be a catalyst in community development for tribal areas.

The job of owning and managing Wadi activities rests with Udyan Vikash Samitis (UVS), the sole grassroots level body to do so.

The USP is the PPP (public private partnership) mode for 500 farm and landless families in and around 16 company periphery villages – Naktiguda, Badamatikana, Sanamatikana, Bilamala, Kaliakana, Upper Dheska, Makapadar, A Koral, Kucheipadar, Bariaguda, Pandkapadar, Lundrukana, Karanjakupakhal, Dhuturapas, Upper Dandabad and TalaDandabad of the Kashipur block, Rayagada district. The programme has a goal of benefitting 90 percent of the tribals . 

“We have made a good beginning.  But it’s a long road ahead”, avers Nagesh.