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29 January 2011

A Responsive Act

As the real estate industry in the country matures, developers are beginning to recognise the importance of corporate social responsibility initiatives, says Suchita Patil.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not a new concept. There have been initiatives taken by various segments of society to create a growth oriented environment by extending support to various social causes under CSR. While CSR not only creates a positive image for the organisation it also play a vital role in improving the quality of life of the employees and the community at large.

With real estate being one of the major sectors with regards to employment,  developers are realising that their commitment towards the society is wide-ranging and are therefore coming forward with various measures. These include by organising health camps, giving donations, forming trusts and giving a helping hand towards the needy.

Pujit Aggarwal, CEO and MD, Orbit Corporation Ltd., says, "As a first step towards CSR we have the Orbit Socio Foundation, a charitable organisation promoted by the group wherein one per cent profits are donated towards the foundation. Our CSR activities largely focus on the betterment of the city which involves educating the underprivileged, answering to the medical needs of the old age. We donate 500 kg of food grains, oil and rice to NGOs in the city every week."

Developers now seem to enter various fields to promote the social causes as a part of CSR initiatives. Under their new initiative Vision Mumbai DB Realty has taken a step by associating with prominent theatre personality, Feroz Khan, who has directed the Indian adaptation of the 2000 Pulitzer award winning play by Donald Margulies Dinner with Friends.

As a part of the series of charity performances across the country, the play Dinner with Friends was held on Saturday, 22nd January, 2011 at Tata Theatre NCPA.

Feroz Khan, who has won several international and national awards, says, "It is a privilege to be a part of such a terrific idea. Having led the growth story of the city and benefited from it, the participation of the real estate industry in nourishing the cultural landscape of Mumbai will help in making Mumbai a more sensitive and deeply caring place in which to live."

Vinod Goenka, MD, DB Realty said, "We at DB Realty will use the platform of art to bring to the forefront social problems and issues which touch all of our lives. We are committed not only to building world-class homes but are also committed to support organisations engaged in helping those who are socially disadvantaged."

The Vision Mumbai programme amongst other activities will extend support to NGOs dealing with issues related to shelter, education, health, environment, womens empowerment and children. The breadth of this involvement will bring a smile to the people of this extraordinary city.

The developers also seem keen on improving the civic sense in the city. Aggarwal says, "The civic understanding of the citizens in the city is very poor. As a result we undertake campaigns to educate the members of the city to develop a civic conscious city."

Adds Shailesh Puranik, MD, Puranik Builders Pvt Ltd., "Keeping the issue of civic hygiene we have built public lavatories. We are also providing water to the adivasi village in the Thane area and sponsoring education of the children of the backward class there."

Education is another area that is the focus of attention in CSR activities of developers.

Gopal Sharma, GM, Marketing, Gundecha Builders, says, "We at Gundecha are running a number of social activities such as Punarvas Education Trust for the physically handicapped at Goregaon, Gundecha Education Academy, a full- fledged ICSE School providing quality education for children up to 12th Std at Thakur Village, in Kandivali, Palnaghar, a creche that looks after children of working women. Gundecha has renovated, beautified as well as maintaining an Electric Crematorium at Oshiwara, Gundechas also won the first prize from BMC for developing and maintaining a Public Garden in Kandivali and we have developed and are maintaining a number of temples in Mumbai."

Not only Mumbai, the Gundecha Charitable Hospital in Rajasthan is providing free treatment to the patients.

Along with society, concern for environment has also been a part of initiatives taken by the developers. "On an individual level we make sure that all our buildings are green compliant with systems like water harvesting, sewage treatment plants, solar panels, quadruple glazing to make the buildings more energy efficient along with landscape greenery to add to the aesthetic appeal of the area", says Aggarwal.

CSR is an important part of any organisation. It not only has a wide reach but also far reaching effects.

As published in, The Times of India, Mumbai - Times Property

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