Report by Suchismita Sahoo; Bhubaneswar: 17,000 children in 235 schools in Lanjigarh block, Kalahandi District of Orissa would soon get nutritious mid-day meal. Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) initiated this project and an MoU in this regard has been signed between Vedanta Alumina Limited, District Administration and Naandi Foundation recently. The project aims at improving the nutritional value of school going children from class I to VIII in government aided schools and encourage poor children, particularly belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend schools more regularly. The schools are in the Lanjigarh Block, primarily spread at the foot hills of Niyamgiri Hills, where the Dongria Kondh tribe resides.
As part of MoU, Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL), a Vedanta Resources group company in aluminium will develop a centralized kitchen, where the food will be cooked and sent to schools. Besides setting the kitchen, Vedanta Aluminium Limited would also bear the cost of transportation. Naandi Foundation will be responsible for cooking and management of the centralized kitchen and also for delivering the food at the doorsteps of the schools. The district administration will provide ration and other necessary items as per the Mid-Day-Meal scheme of the government.
Education and nutrition has always been focus of Vedanta�s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives. Vedanta has established about 70 child care centres and adopted 800 Anganwadi Centres (Integrated Child Development Centres) that are benefiting more than 32,500 children in Orissa and Rajasthan. About 40 childcare centers primarily catering to the age group, 2.5 to 5 Years, and 400 Anganwadi Centre, catering to the age group, 0 � 6 Years, are operational in Lanjigarh, District Kalahandi, Orissa. About 30 childcare centres and 400 Anganwadi Centres are operating in Rajasthan in four districts.
Hindustan Zinc, a zinc-lead company of Vedanta Resources Group in Rajasthan, is already providing mid-day meal to about 200,000 primary and secondary school going children in about 1900 schools in Rajasthan. Hindustan Zinc has set-up 6 hi-tech kitchens and that are also being run by Naandi Foundation. BALCO, another company of the Vedanta Resources Group in aluminium, in district Korba in the State of Chattisgarh, is also going ahead and setting up a mid-day meal kitchen. This kitchen has the capacity to serve about 45,000 school going children.
Vedanta Resources group is running several projects under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that include Computer Education, Women Empowerment through Self Help Groups, Medical & Hygiene Camps, Livelihood Programmes, Cultivation of Cash Crops, Infrastructure Development, Water Conservation & Harvesting, to name a few. The projects are being undertaken in the deep rural and backward areas, specially where group companies operate.