The conviction and determination with which AAI has been carrying out various CSR initiatives around Ajmer area is what has led to the success of Kishangarh Airport.
Every person, institution, community and urban conglomerate plays an important role in the overall development of any country. It is our moral duty to ensure that we join hands with our countrymen to think about and work for the comprehensive development of our country. If this is done without the backing or force of any rule or law, then it becomes even more noteworthy. Before April 1, 2014, Indian laws did not mandate corporate participation in the social and economic development of the country, but since that historic date, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) law has come into effect.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) laid the foundation stone of Kishangarh airport in the year 2013. During the construction of the airport, the AAI team had to face several challenges due to which the foundation stone was actually laid in the Kishangarh town, instead of the land earmarked for the airport. There were a few reasons for this, including the strident opposition by the villagers whose lands had to be acquired for building the airport, the diversion of the connecting road, the construction of the road linking the terminal building to the National Highway and shifting the high tension and low tension power cables for the airport. Overcoming all these difficulties was indeed a very challenging task.
Assessing the situation from March 2015, the AAI Kishangarh team began various activities under its CSR obligations alongside the construction of the airport. Thus, over the past two years, in various government schools located in villages and small towns of Ajmer district, several projects have been carried out by the AAI in the spirit of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (clean India mission)
The main activities involved construction of toilets, harvesting rainwater, installation of solar panels, provision of drinking water as well as construction of boundary walls of the schools. The AAI has also provided facilities for sports and cultural activities for the school children and made available various toys for them. It also organises counselling for school children. In addition, AAI also organises various events and rallies on the cleanliness mission.
In the first stage, INR 4 million was spent in the development of 11 schools in various villages such as Silora, Udaipur-Kala, Godiana, Kumaria, Bera, benefitting over 4,000 students.
In the next phase, since the first quarter of the year 2017, various CSR activities have been initiated in 40 government schools of the Ajmer district, at a total cost of INR 22.05 million. These include installation of clean drinking water facilities, including water coolers, filters, pipes and taps, rooftop solar panels, boundary walls, 60 sets of sporting equipment for schools, provision of furniture and repairs of school buildings. This phase benefits over 20,000 school children.
Besides this, with the cooperation of Kishangarh Airport, Forum of Indian Photographers and Artists (FIPA) and Kishangarh Art Forum, UDAN Art Camps have also been organised free of cost and without any subsidy from the government. So far it has seen participation by over 1,500 school children and artists, to whom free materials such as paints, brushes and canvasses have been provided.
With the help of the AAI Kishangarh Airport and others, a ‘Spare Your Toys’ group has also been operational for over a year. This group provides underprivileged children books, toys and other interesting educational materials in order to get these children interested in education.
■ For the government schools in rural areas, a detailed strategy for implementing CSR activities has been prepared after a survey and the following actions are already underway:
• Sanitation: construction of toilets, distribution of dustbins, etc. • Provision of clean drinking water with water coolers, purifiers, pumps, pipe fittings, taps, etc.
• Solar panels for electrification • Environment protection with plantation of over 5,000 saplings in an ongoing campaign in collaboration with social organisations, people’s groups and government departments.
• Rainfall harvest
• Other gaps such as furniture, sports equipment and sports grounds, tree guards, modern kitchens for cooking mid-day meals
■ In terms of software intervention, a survey was conducted to determine the gap areas and following the survey, work is being done in the following segments in order to get children interested in education and skill development:
• Career counselling
• Awareness campaigns for cleanliness and hygiene along with talk shows in rural areas
• Personality development and sports: rural students participated in the Great Delhi Marathon that saw a race for development of rural education
• Cleanliness with security: Under this principle, efforts are being made to develop community policing initiatives
• Skill development: Familiarisation trips for students are organised to operational airports as well as those under development
• Free Art Camps to help bring out the hidden artistic talents in rural areas
The General Manager of Kishangarh Airport, along with the entire staff, has undertaken broad social networking and marketing in order to implement these activities. Aware local leadership, leading citizens, social organisations, social workers and media have found these CSR activities of the AAI to be a successful and inspiring role model. The local communities now see a glimmer of hope thanks to these actions of the AAI.
The entire Ajmer district is now aware of the various social activities undertaken by the AAI and this has led to a complete change of the attitude of local villagers from a totally negative to a very positive attitude towards the AAI and its plans. The local and state government officials have promptly helped the AAI in case of any needs and the print and electronic media have also been positive collaborators in these projects.
All the land disputes related to the project have been amicably resolved and the involvement of the AAI staff in CSR activities has also boosted their productivity in their work, along with a significant improvement in self-satisfaction and practically all aspects of the project are headed for completion in lesser time and lower budget than expected.
There is no doubt that in the time to come, the development initiative in this region will yield happy results. The role of CSR activities in ensuring the success of Kishangarh airport project means that for all future airport developments in the country, CSR activities should be undertaken even before the project work on the actual airport begins. This would ensure that the future airport projects are even more effective and productive, attaining their time and budgetary targets. The CSR activities of AAI are important not only for the society but for AAI itself as being the source of moral strength for its visions and missions.
Sanjeev Jindal, GM (Project), Ajmer (Kishangarh) Airport