For the majority of the tribal populace in the villages in and around Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri, agriculture, that is primarily dependent on the monsoon rains, is the mainstay of their livelihoods. These areas have significantly low access to improved agriculture technology and implements, thus affecting the overall productivity. Understanding the vital needs and issues of community livelihoods here, Essar Foundation under the aegis of Essar Steel, Vizag undertook strategic interventions to support their development.
Leveraging on the visit of the Chief Minister, government of Odisha, Mr Naveen Patnaik to Chitrakonda, the local administration, specifically, the Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) and Essar jointly organized an event to provide mechanized farm machinery to the Essar-nurtured self-help groups (SHGs) in the pipeline villages. Representatives of the SHGs from Sarkubandha and Chintandoli villages attended the event and received power tillers and water pump sets from the Chief Minister. The event was organized on February 19, 2014 at Chitrakonda. The equipment received by SHG members will be immensely helpful in improving the agricultural productivity in their respective areas.
Other dignitaries present during the function included Mr Mukund Sodi, MLA, Malkangiri; Ms Mamata Madhi, MLA, Chitrakonda; Ms Padmini Muduli, District Chairperson, Malkangiri; District Collector, Malkangiri and senior representatives of ITDA.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stated, "Education and health are the two top priorities of the state government. The government is committed to provide better healthcare facilities and arrest maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rates." Essar representatives and the local administration apprised the Chief Minister about Essar’s initiatives in the area, which includes education and healthcare in remotest of villages.
Essar, through its CSR initiatives, has been able to create a unique convergent and synergistic model of development, whereby, with strategic supplementation of efforts, the benefits of crucial government schemes are made available to the under-served and unreached communities. Some of the most impactful programs being implemented in the area include agriculture development, SHG promotion, sports development and healthcare facilities.