Veolia is deeply rooted and locally involved to bring about a sustainable development in the area where we operate.
In 2012, Veolia India through its joint venture company Orange City Water (OCW) was awarded India’s first Public Private Partnership contract for the integrated management of water supply in the entire city of Nagpur. We have one of the best examples of “Resourcing the Region” to showcase through this contract.
With 2.7 million inhabitants, Nagpur is the 10th largest city in India with 36% population in the slums. During the initial phase the contract faced a lot of resistance from the citizens especially from the people living in the slum areas due to private sector participation in the field of urban water supply.
This project would bring a lot of behavioral and social changes into the lifestyle of the inhabitants of Nagpur. In order to explain the impacts (positive) of the project on the daily life of the citizens and to achieve social acceptability, a community liaison and dialogue was necessary.
A Social Welfare Team was formed with 50 members from different backgrounds who could engage with a variety of stakeholders and also address potential queries of the customers. The main purpose of the SWT was to bridge the gap between OCW and the customers and to educate them about the project.
The core responsibility of SWT is to educate the customers regarding the project and encouraging them to undertake the services offered by the project. To build the confidence and trust of the citizens on the project, the SWT executives spend a lot of time in the field engaging with local population on various issues and queries related to billing, meter reading, volumetric charges etc. The SWT arranged a complaint management system which allows consumers to put forward their complains and helps OCW to address them timely. All departments of OCW work together to support the SWT with the necessary tools to serve the customers.
With continuous daily water supply, the women in the slum areas do not have to stand in queue or travel to get water anymore. They now have free time which they can invest for themselves and their family’s welfare. The SWT team has been supporting these women with various micro financing business opportunities which they can explore in their free time and will help to support their families financially.
So far SWT has engaged with 105 schools and colleges and in total 15,000 students in Nagpur.
The SWT structure the workshops as per the understanding level of the students. For the young school students, the workshops are designed to make them aware about the importance of water conservation, clean water, health and hygiene. For the college students the workshops are more technical and detail more on the benefits which the project will bring to their daily life of Nagpurians. With the support of the technical team present at the sites, the SWT organizes student visits to the water treatment plants to showcase and explain them the processes involved in supplying water to the entire city. Students from colleges especially engineering colleges are given a detailed tour explaining Veolia’s state-of-the-art technologies that are being implemented at the plant.
Through these workshops the SWT team encourages the students to become Water Friends for OCW and help to spread awareness about the project among their family members, friends and neighbors. This initiative has brought positive results for OCW with students encouraging their family members to undertake the OCW services.
These workshops and programmes have been very well acknowledged by the schools, colleges and their students. The team has also received many awards and recognitions for these social initiatives. Recently, Anjuman College of Engineering and Technology, a renowned college of Nagpur felicitated OCW for its initiatives and programmes to educate students on the various water related topics.
The implementation of the Social Welfare Team in Nagpur has helped OCW to achieve remarkable results. It has helped to handled issues related to access to water for all and social acceptability. Thus we believe the Social Welfare team is a useful tool that nature the work of Veolia in the field of communication and social acceptability.