We have always been active towards any social cause
Explain the journey of Wonder Cement into CSR-related activities.
As a group, Wonder Cement has always been active towards any social cause. In fact, our parent company RK Marble is very active socially. We have been in the marble business since 1989 and then later ventured into cement. Our directors have extended helping hands to local communities in the past. We were initially into mining and now got into manufacturing. Our motto has always been to get connected with the people we work with, the problems associated with those people wherever we do business. We aim to improve their lifestyles. Since the beginning this has been our objective. We have a charitable trust by the name Ratanlal Kanwarlal, which is of RK Marble, and our directors are the trustees. The trust extends helping hand to those who are in need of support.
So, are you now operating through the same trust or there is a different trust created?
When Wonder Cement became a body corporate, we started doing these activities under different name in different areas. In other places, it is done in the name of Wonder Cement.
Now that you are doing this individually, are you doing with the help of another organisation?
No, we have our own in-house team taking care of this. We have our own hospital and qualified doctors attending the patients. For expert doctors, we take help from district hospitals. We hold camps in neighbouring areas and we also provide them with medical facilities.
Have you at anytime joined hands with NGOs?
Wonder Cement is doing all the programmes directly. But there are also certain agriculture-related activities for which we have joined hands with local NGOs for handling activities. In medical camps, we take help from societies like Indian Red Cross, etc.
What is the area you normally cover? Any plans for expansion?
Wonder Cement is a new and growing company, and hence we have started this initiative in the district where we have our cement plant. However, we plan to grow this activity in the neighbouring areas as well.
What kind of medical help do you provide to the people coming to the health camps?
During health camps, we generally carry out regular check ups only. There are people coming from small villages and towns who do not even know the problems they are facing. We make them aware of the possible problems and treat them. Those who require surgery, we inform them accordingly. They are advised to come to our hospital or go to some other hospital if required. If the patient has some financial issues, we also provide them with financial aid. Normally, the medicines are given free of cost.
What are the limitations at the camps?
There are no operation theatre at the camp. Necessary check ups like blood pressure and other important parameters of urine, blood, etc. are tested at camps. We generally carry out basic tests only.
How many people can be accommodated during health camps?
It all depends on the size of the village. A minimum of 50 to a maximum of 500. The number increases when there are patients with fever and viral infections.
What is the duration of the camp?
Usually it is for a day only, but again it all depends on the number of people participating. We have already fixed dates for health camps for different villages and towns. If someone misses one location of the camp, he can always come to a neighbouring village. We keep four camps in a month. We start around 9.30 am and end around 4-5 pm. If there are more patients then the time extends till we check all the patients.
In this case, how do you identify which village you should go to first and which one later?
We have already chalked out a monthly plan to where to start and where to end. We change our plan only during the emergency. For e.g: If there is an emergency or break of an epidemic in a village, then we go out of the way and reach there on priority. Otherwise we follow the plan.
Generally, what is the age group that comes to the camp?
Usually older people come to the camp. Women and pregnant women are more in number. Young people visit only during emergency.
Are there any special facilities for pregnant women?
Yes, we do have a gynecologist present at camp site. There are also counseling sessions taking place at the camp. Counseling topics include family planning and planned pregnancy.
How has been the response so far?
The response has been excellent so far. Each and every person wants to be aware about his health and he is getting an opportunity like this being at home. The needy who cannot go to the city, gets himself checked at the camp. Many a times, people are unaware of their problems and hence through this, we are spreading health awareness.
How do you guide older patients?
For cataract operation, we have an eye hospital, Dr Gomabai Hospital, in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh. We group them in 4-5 camps and take them together to the nearby hospital and we get them operated. We make a list and call them to our factory if required and then take them to a hospital where they get operated. We do take them again when they need to undergo follow ups.
What about the budget for this health camp?
We have an open budget. We are open for all needy people and there is no budget constraint.
Do you get any support or cooperation from the concerned MPs or MLAs?
We call them to inaugurate the camp, we honour them, and they have always been supportive to our cause. Sometimes, they do suggest where to arrange the camp. We are open to their suggestions.
What is the company´s philosophy and principle regarding this initiative?
We are running an industry here and getting so much from the nature and from the people over here. This is a little way we can return what we have been getting. If we are able to spread across the message of health, then we have done a bit to the locals over here.
Apart from healthcare, are there any other activities undertaken by Wonder Cement?
If yes, kindly elaborate.
Everyone expects to get into direct or indirect employment with us. But we cannot satisfy each and everyone. Hence, we are putting in efforts to provide coaching to the bright students in the nearby areas. With this, they can at least find a job somewhere else. We have opened free coaching classes for youth in small villages. We are not giving the jobs directly but we are helping them to get the jobs.
Also, in some schools there are no toilets. We have provided toilet facilities to such schools. We are also giving Rs 1 lakh every year to a school for its basic day-to-day needs and expenses. Under Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan, we have taken up sanitation project for constructing about 1,000 toilets in the neighbouring villages. At present, we have completed more than 50 per cent of that project. We have also provided sanitation facilities in about 150-200 schools.
Wonder Cement has constructed community centres in about 2-3 villages. Our vision is to have community centres is all villages where the villagers can hold their meetings, functions and do other work.
At times, we have joined hands with Government departments to make roads. We are doing drainage work and preliminary health centres in villages. We are making shades at the cremation grounds. To spread eco-friendly awareness, we are also planting trees in schools and villages and in panchayat areas.