Change has become a way of life for the communities living in the catchment villages that lie within the project site of Coastal Gujarat Private Limited (CGPL), the wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power Company, in the Kutch district of Gujarat. When the Company came to set up business here in 2006, one of the first steps taken by its authorities was to get familiar with the local people, to comprehend their priority issues, and identify the challenges they face. The strategy was to forge an alliance with the villagers and take them on as partners in all the development works that would be undertaken by CGPL. The plan has evidently worked, and worked very well. In the past decade the region has experienced changes—substantial, constructive changes in every sphere. From education to rural energy.
But among the frontrunners, Health care services, is the one with the most promising track record. In fact, the partners are so confident of the quality of services provided that they are planning to enter the next level. They are concentrating on creating programmes to spread awareness on the significance of behavioral and lifestyle patterns in succumbing to or preventing killer diseases.
One such programme has already been staged by Coastal Gujarat Power (CGPL) where CGPL partnered with Divya Bhaskar (a leading news paper of the region) and the annual World AIDS Day event in Bhuj 1st Dec, 2014. Held annually since 1988 worldwide, World AIDS Day is observed to raise awareness on how to prevent HIV and to express support for people living with it. The purpose also is to inform and educate the community on the perils of the disease, and bust the myths that surround it.
The programme was divided into several segments, including a mass rally. The large crowd that attended the show consisted of community members, students, school children District Administration (Health, Education), Corporate Houses and NGOs. Scores of volunteers, community members participated carrying placards and banners, shouting slogans and performing street plays.
The highlight of the annual event, however, was the Marathon Walk organised by CGPL as a part of its sustainability agenda. The programme was organised with the aim of providing a common platform to unite in the fight against HIV, express support for people living with HIV and commemorate people who have suffered from the disease. The walk covered the main streets of Bhuj, and ultimately assembled in one place. Mr. MS Patel (IAS), District Collector, who, at the end shared his thoughts on AIDS pandemic, myths related to AIDS and cleared misconceptions regarding the disease. Top brass from the Police Department, Health Department, the Municipal Mayor, citizens of Bhuj, joined the walk, which was further bolstered by active support from local NGOs.
Given the success of the event, inhabitants of CGPL’s home territory can now look forward to such health shows too. At a smaller scale maybe, touching on other diseases, too, that have local relevance.