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Posted at: Aug 23, 2016, 12:53 AM; last updated: Aug 23, 2016, 12:53 AM (IST)BIZ TALK

Under CSR initiative, Maruti Suzuki sets up water ATMs

Under CSR initiative, Maruti Suzuki sets up water ATMs

RS Kalsi

Executive Director, Maruti Suzuki

talks to Girja Shankar Kaura

Some years ago, the government came out with an order making Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a must for companies having income above a certain mark. Taking this opportunity, country’s largest car-maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) went on a unique path of setting up a water ATM which provides water to lakhs of people. MSIL’s Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), RS Kalsi talks about the initiative.

Q. How was the idea of a water ATM conceived?

A. Community development lies at the core of our CSR initiatives. Our programmes are designed specifically to address the needs of communities. While conducting analysis at Kasan village in Gurgaon, availability of clean drinking water and sanitation emerged as the biggest need of the community. The village opinion leaders suggested requirement of clean drinking water to reduce many water-borne diseases like jaundice, especially among children.

Q. Tell us more about the implementation of the whole project? What would be the role of WaterLife?

A. We have partnered with WaterLife as our implementation partners. The water ATM facility is built on a self-sustaining model. Maruti Suzuki has borne the initial cost of the project. The Kasan village panchayat is the project owner and has provided the land. The panchayat will provide the water and electricity to run the water ATM. WaterLife India will undertake operations and maintenance of the plant for 10 years.

The water ATMs have a capacity to filter 1000 litres per hour through UV 10 stage filtration with a total dissolved solids (TDS) treatment capacity of 5,000 parts per million (PPM). The water meets WHO and IS 10500 standards and retains essential minerals with minimal water rejection.

Q. What is the investment by Maruti Suzuki in these water ATMs?

A. Maruti Suzuki has provided one-time investment of Rs 20 lakh per water ATM to set up. WaterLife will undertake operations and maintenance of the plants for 10 years to ensure that the programme remains sustainable and the community continues to enjoy the benefits in the long term. Similarly, Maruti Suzuki plans to set up three more water ATMs in the region.

Q. How will the clean drinking water project benefit the community?

A. The project is meant to serve the entire village community which entails the migratory population who is living in these villages, school students and the local population. At present, the population of the village is approximately 30,000.

Previously, the only access was hard water or supply water. A few private tankers sold water stating it as potable. Though villagers purchased the water at Rs 30 per 20 litres, they were not sure about the purity. With the new water ATM in their village, they can see the water being purified in front of them.

Along with normal water, people can also avail chilled water. Water is being provided at a nominal rate of Rs 7 for 20 litres of normal water and Rs 30 for 20 litres of chilled water.

Q. What are some of the other community development activities that MSIL is undertaking?

A. Maruti Suzuki is working in 16 villages across Gurgaon, Manesar and Rohtak. The main areas of interventions include water and sanitation and education. The company has taken up comprehensive sanitation programme, which includes construction of individual household toilets and laying of sewer lines along with solid and liquid waste management. The company is also constructing water tanks, toilets and bore wells in government schools of Haryana. Apart from this, the company is also working on spreading awareness on sanitation among community members.

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