It is heartening to note that despite all the challenges being faced by the Mundra based Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP)-a Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL) owned and operated plant-continues to work towards inclusive development within the communities in its surroundings.
Following an analysis of complaints against Mundra it is clear that the Company is 100 per cent compliant with all state and central Government norms. In addition it has gone above and beyond and is compliant with international norms sent by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The Company has shown phenomenal interest for inclusive growth- a fact that can be vouched by all stakeholders. A walk through this region highlights the investment and collaboration between the UMPP and the communities. The development work varies from augmenting rural education system to the livelihood development of the communities, to development of infrastructure towards overall improvement of living standards. Through its various initiatives the UMPP has enriched the lives of residents.
What one find impressive is the exposure given to the fishermen by providing technical inputs for better fishing practices resulting into direct gains from the high quality fish catch. There have also been exposure visits to Government run Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) to understand cage fish culture, which will enhance their fishing productivity. Initiatives have been taken by CGPL to develop fishing infrastructure and assist in diversification in current livelihood options through setting up of fish pond. Pilot projects for shrimp farming, cage fishing and others, installation of solar lamps in boats enabling fishermen to take three rounds for of the sea increasing the catch substantially, distribution of fishing nets, convergence with ongoing schemes by the Government and conservation of coastline and marine life are few amongst the many developmental steps being taken by CGPL.
Bringing access to drinking water, sanitation and quality healthcare facilities for village residents have further enhanced the livelihood standards of the residents of Mundra. Also, there is remarkable participation with government initiatives for development projects in the region.
Some voices reinstate the commitment CGPL has delivered in lighting up lives.
Fakir Mamad Husain, 54 years old says “Modhva has been one of the most impoverished villages in the area and majority of the population are fishermen. Income levels were very low and infrastructure was in a sorry plight. CGPL has shown us all that can be made history. CGPL and the VDAC members discussed and conducted feasibility analysis for installation of solar lights in the village. The places were identified with systematic need rankings and decided by the community itself. In the entire process, CGPL extended tremendous handholding support. They have installed solar lights in important places like the crematorium, on the beach, on the route back to the village, which has been extremely beneficial as there were no lights on the beach and most fishermen operated late at night. This has increased the safety and made it a sheer ease to commute from the beach to the village. The village and community is always consulted and briefed before initiating any development programs. We are grateful to CGPL for their help and assistance since there are no other organizations working for this community in this village.”