Eureka Forbes has recently helped to set up a WaterShop at Govandi, in Mumbai Suburbs. Speaking to CSR Times, A.V. Suresh, President-International Operations & CEO- Forbes Professional, Eureka Forbes Limited discussed the CSR initiatives. Excerpts of the interview..
Q. What is the concept of Jal Jeevan
A. Jal Jeevan is the concept for providing safe and hygienic potable water. It is our firm belief that unpolluted water & air is the birthright of every Indian and with this vision we set up the Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment (EFIE). The institute promotes awareness about conservation & management of natural water & air resources.
Q. Are you undertaking such initiative across the nation?
A. Yes, Eureka Forbes is focused on Rural programs. Across the country, say Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, we have installed more than 260 water purifications system plants and more than 12,000 water purifiers in partnership with many NGOs and social service organizations.
Q. Why have you set the water shop at Govandi Rafiq Nagar?
A. Rafiq Nagar, one of the most underdeveloped pockets in the city, is a cluster of about 31,000 people in 6,500 households that falls under the M East ward in Mumbai. Sustainable social model would not only address the growing health issues faced by people in these communities, but it would also provide a comprehensive platform to generate livelihood for women in the locality.
Q. How was the concept of water shop set?
A. It is a collective effort, with Rotary Club of Bombay, Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment and ‘Apnalaya’, an NGO, together having initiated the concept of ‘Water Shop’. We have financed it as a part of our CSR.
Q. What is the cost of setting such water shop?
A. This is just the pilot project and the cost of setting the water shop was Rs 12.6 lakhs.
Q. How does the system works?
A. As of now, the self-help group is selling filtered water at 50 paise per litre, in transparent plastic jars of twenty litres. The water shop remains opens from 8 am to 6 pm daily for everyone from the locality to have their daily quota of potable water.
Q. What if someone is not able to make in time?
A. In case someone is not able to fetch water during the allocated time they may buy a prepaid card for the same. The prepaid card ranges from Rs 50–Rs 200. The prepaid card is radio frequency identification enabled and users can get their water jars, place them under the spout outside the shop, place their prepaid card in front of the scanner and twenty litres of water will automatically pour out from the spout.
Q. How is water filtered?
A. The water is treated with combined mechanism-UF (Ultra Filter) and UV (Ultra Violet) Water purification isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ game; groundwater from various parts of the country requires specific filtration equipment, settings and recalibration. UV filter is effective only when municipal water flows from the taps. But, during water shortages, tanker water is added to the mix and, as a result, the ‘total dissolved solid’ goes up and the taste gets adversely affected. The tanker water goes through a sand filter to remove any visible garbage, then it goes through a carbon filter to remove any oil or colour pollutants, after which it passes through an ultra-filtration block to remove micro-remnants. After that it is treated in the ultraviolet section to get rid of bacteria or any such contaminants.
Q. What about the ROI’s?
A. The self help group will own and supervise the operations of the water filtration units. They will generate revenue by selling the potable water to the community at 50 paise per litre. Ideally the gestation period is about three and half periods and initially for three months we won’t charge.
Q. What is the plan for future?
A. In the near future also, we aim to replicate the model by installing 50 more such water shops in this sustainable social model, in urban slums across the city as well as the outskirts like say Mira Road, Mankhurd and alike.
Q. So are you looking forward for good projects?
A. Yes definitely we are looking forward to projects. This is just one of the Pilot projects and accordingly we are looking forward to Organisations, Associations, NGO’s, who would like to be part of our endeavors.