Ramgarh creating synergy effects through public-private partnership to fight COVID19

Author- Subhra Sen

Ramgarh district was carved out from erstwhile district Hazaribagh and is one of the 24 districts of Jharkhand. The Ramgarh district lies at the heart of the Jharkhand State, situated on National Highway 33 & 46 km away from state’s capital, Ranchi on northern side & Hazaribagh on southern side 52 km away. Ramgarh is surrounded by North- Hazaribagh district, South- Ranchi district, East Bokaro district, West- Ranchi district & Purulia district of West Bengal State. Five rivers – Damodar, Gomati, Swarnrekha, Narki & Vairavi – flow through the district and water is used for irrigation as well as Industrial purposes . The Patratu dam which situated 30 km to the west of Ramgarh was constructed with the purpose of supplying water to Patratu Thermal Power Station. Ramgarh is known as a mining, industrial and cultural hub.

The district was made a district on 12 September 2007, consists of 1 sub-division, 6 blocks (Chitarpur, Dulmi, Gola, Ramgarh, Mandu and Patratu) and 361 villages covering an area of 1,360.08 square kilometres (525.13 sq mi). Being the third biggest mining district in Jharkhand, Ramgarh holds a strong position on the mineral map of the country. The district is endowed with a large and rich deposit of coal and coal bed methane and also possesses various other minerals like limestone, fire clay, etc. There is immense potential for industrialization of steel, sponge iron, cement, refractory and thermal power plants are being established due to coal availability and other large mineral deposits.

District Ramgarh: An Aspirational District with Strong CSR Backing

Despite its industrialization potential, the district has performed poorly in most development indicators, thus leading it to fall in one of the Aspirational Districts. Ramgarh is among Jharkhand’s 19 districts identified by NITI Aayog as a part of the aspirational district programme. NITI Aayog’s focused strategy to rapidly transform Ramgarh relies on the development efforts of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) as a part of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) are vital in supporting the development of Aspirational District. These development initiatives are currently being led by Oil and Natural Gas Cooperation (ONGC) and Coal India Limited.

At present there is presence of several mineral based large scale industries such as Jindal Steel & Power Ltd,(JSPL) Patratu, RajrappaWashery Project (CCL) Rajrappa, Central Workshop (CCL) Barkakhana, Oil and Natural Gas Cooperation (ONGC), Mandu, Patratu Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (PVUNL) Patratu, Dayal Steel Ramgarh Bihar Foundry & Casting Ltd. Ramgarh, West Bokaro Coal Mining (TATA), National Thermal Power Corp.(NTPC)Patratu and many other medium and small scale enterprises.

This is why the District Administration decided to foster the public-private partnership for combating the Corona crisis. This idea gained even more momentum when the Central Government cleared the way for companies to spend their CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds on Covid19 related activities.

Combining both the public and private resources for amplifying efforts

In a move to strengthen synergy against the global pandemic, Deputy Commissioner Sh.Sandeep Singh (IAS) directed the District CSR Coordination Committee (also Chaired by the Deputy Commissioner) to dovetail CSR efforts in the light of ongoing health disasters. Sh. Sanjay Sinha, Deputy Development Commissioner, Ramgarh, District CSR-Nodal Prabhari Officer and all the General Managers as selected representatives from the private/PSU companies are members of this committee. District Administration, Ramgarh has also issued necessary guidelines to the companies for supporting the District Administration in the current situation. This is to ensure active involvement and careful resource utilization of companies’ funds which shall be majorly spent on providing relief to people and augmenting health infrastructure. Moreover, since the issuing of the letter on 23rd of March, companies have had to put a halt to all their operational activities and focus entirely on reversing the spread of the pandemic. Following this,CSR companies of Ramgarh have shown their sincere commitment and have demonstrated humanity in the most difficult times. CSR- Companies have taken multiple relief measures. Besides the employees, the companies have also touched various stakeholder groups through several COVID-19 initiatives.

District Collector, Sh. Sandeep Singh, visiting portable doctors’ cabins

Augmented healthcare protective gear and equipment:

CSR agencies supported District Administration by providing medical supplies like high-quality thermal scanners, on the other hand each agency has taken the lead to thermal scanning in their operational areas. Cloth and preventive rubber gloves, masks to prevent wearer exposure to COVID-19 infection. Tata Steel Foundation also supports SHGs in manufacturing cloth masks. 5-10 Mahila Samuh being involved in mask manufacturing. Thus, various agencies have provided raw materials to SHGs for producing low cost masks at rupees 6 and later buy these masks from SHGs. These masks fulfill the demand of frontline health warriors. They have distributed masks at every operational panchayats. Addition to it, disinfectant products like sodium hypochlorite, bleaching powder, power and manual spray for general precautionary measures of environmental cleaning & decontamination have been arranged.

SHG members making masks

Portable Doctor Cabin and extra beds

District has recently installed extra beds and ventilators in Ramgarh District Hospital COVID-19 patients. Along with 2 portable special ICU unit has been created at Sadar Hospital, and portable cabin for logging of medical team by TATA and PVUNL. CSR-Companies are committed to provide health facilities to reduce potentially catastrophic threats of COVID-19. Further work on creating a sanitisation tunnel and COVID-19 sample collection room is in progress.

Portable cabins provided by PVUNL

Companies own hospital Preparedness

District Ramgarh has 7 hospitals operational by TATA, CCL & JINDAL. This hospital is operational for their employees. However, in the present situation the hospital and its facilities would be available and accessible for every individual. But as they came together to respond COVID-19, they have taken additional measures to combat by opening up their hospitals for the people of Ramgarh. Each hospital has preparedness to promptly identify and isolate patients with possible COVID-19 . Additionally, the hospitals are also prepared for the possible arrival of patients with COVID-19. All hospitals have ensured that their staff are trained, equipped and capable in responding to a community-wide outbreak of COVID-19.

Availability of ventilators in CSR-funded hospitals

Awareness to mitigate COVID-19

CSR agencies of Ramgarh immensely helped District Administration to meet the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic especially in blocks where they have a direct presence. They have been engaged in various activities like, sensitising the community, spreading awareness on COVID-19 symptoms, importance of social distancing, hand washing technique and importance of wearing a mask. Demarcations have been made (1 metre apart) at local vegetable markets. They are also offering daily necessary food material in the form of the dry ration and cooked meals to the poor and needy residents as well as stranded migrant laborers. Regular usage of Disinfectant spray of Sodium Hypochlorite (1%) solution is also being done in nearby hutment areas and adjacent Panchayats. Also they are engaged with constant awareness on the seriousness of COVID-19 and ensure effective implementation of the lockdown.

Awareness to mitigate COVID-19 by CSR

Supply and distribution of essential food items

Since the fifth day of nationwide lockdown CSR agencies have been serving hot cooked meals and dry rations to over 54782 people. 4642 meals are being served from these kitchens every day to the homeless, daily labourers and stranded migrants. Currently we have 18 relief shelter homes across Ramgarh. People are being served hot cooked meals twice a day through 12 CSR-run community kitchens. Also, 2575 dry rations packets are being distributed in various underprivileged localities. Multiple CSR agencies are currently engaged in running these kitchens and distribution of the food at Panchayat and block.

Supply and distribution of essential commodities by CSR

Commitment to step up from crisis

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has had and continues to have significant human, commercial and financial impacts all over the world. But this challenge is also an opportunity. At this moment, we must reaffirm our commitment in response to the challenge posed by the coronavirus by exercising our collective will, resources and religiously perform our duties in a humane manner. We are all passing through a difficult time. Therefore, requires a determined collective effort from all of us.