February 2022 : For communities dwelling in Andhra Pradesh’s arid and semi-arid regions, drought is a frequent and serious livelihood challenge. Rayalaseema is one such region in the state, also home to our integrated cement unit Andhra Pradesh Cement Works (APCW). In line with UltraTech’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) philosophy, the unit has tailored an Integrated Watershed Project, to address the region’s drought related challenges.
APCW undertook this Integrated Watershed project in partnership with The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). In February 2019, ICRISAT and APCW signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the same.
Through its community development interactions, APCW’s CSR team identified the need for enhancement of agricultural productivity through water conservation and livelihoods training in Rayalaseema region. The watershed project focussed on two villages in this region- namely Patnikota of Kolimigundla Mandal, Kurnool district and Ayyavaripalli of Tadipatri Mandal, Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
The project involved assessment of crop-growing capacity, awareness programmes for better crop-quality practices and other interventions including soil-sample collection and fertiliser recommendations.
APCW in partnership with ICRISAT has constructed seven rainwater harvesting structures in these two villages. These rainwater harvesting structures in Patnikota and Ayyavaripalli villages have created a water storage capacity of around 35,000 cubic metres (m3). The structures have harvested about 2.34 Lac m3 of water as on March 2022. Going forward, in a normal rainfall year, these structures are expected to recharge 1.75 Lac m3 of rainwater annually.
Around 500 households have directly gained from these water-related initiatives and indirect benefits of our interventions can be seen across households in the two villages. This project has now provided farmers with enhanced, year-round water resources for irrigation. Our water-related interventions have also resulted in substantial increase in total farmland. Farmers in these two villages have gained from UltraTech’s initiatives aimed at higher crop yield and better know-how in terms of good agricultural practices and soil culture. Other livelihood training initiatives – both in agri and non-agri activities – has led to a marked improvement in family-income levels of some the community members.
UltraTech works to actively contribute to the social and economic development of the communities in which it operates in. We undertake our social initiatives under the aegis of The Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development with Mrs. Rajashree Birla as the Chairperson. The key focus areas are education, healthcare, sustainable livelihoods, community infrastructure and social causes. UltraTech reaches out to more than 2.1 million beneficiaries in over 500 villages in 16 states across India.
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