Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Giving Back To Society

Times Of India, Pune | July 27, 2013

When a CSR activity occurs in the context of actual real estate development, it must essentially be directed at those who contribute to the process, points out ANURADHA RAMAMIRTHAM

In the corporate world, the primary focus is on business success and catering to the expectations of various stakeholders. However, there is also a very clearly understood need to occasionally step away from this focus and give back to society. The many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities undertaken by developers just goes to prove that.

Most corporates have some form of CSR activity or the other. The objective is usually not to improve the company's external image - these activities are ingrained into a firm's overall culture. "The knowledge that their company is actively contributing to a worthy cause definitely makes its employees proud and adds significantly to the workforce morale," says Sanjay Bajaj, managing director-Pune, Jones Lang LaSalle India.

When a CSR activity occurs in the context of actual real estate development, it must essentially be directed at those who contribute to the process development. This seems to be the maxim of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. "For example, we provide schooling to the children of the construction workers at all our sites. We have tied up with 'Door Step School' - an NGO, which addresses the need to educate the marginalised sections of society," shares Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

'Door Step School' provides education and support to the often-forgotten children of pavementdwellers, slum dwellers, construction site families and many other underprivileged families. Many of these children are not enrolled in schools and have limited access to books and places to study. Also, many children drop out of school to work or care for younger children. With neither support nor resources at home, such children tend to have no opportunities for education. Real estate companies acknowledge the potential of contributing positively to the lives of the construction workers it employs and have been working along with Door Step School. "In keeping with this program, AEHL provides school structures and meals to the children of construction workers, so that their education can take place free of cost even as their parents earn a living at our sites," mentions Pate.

While CSR activity has a positive impact on the image of the company and helps in its brand building, these are not the criteria that the company focuses on while getting involved with the same. Many developers believe that the real estate developer community must give back to the society it caters to.

Pharande Spaces has many CSR initiatives, such as schooling and day care for the children of their construction workers and healthcare benefits for their families. The Group is actively involved in providing regular inoculation and free health check-up drives in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) area. "Recently, Pharande Spaces allocated resources and time towards drought alleviation in the affected areas in Maharashtra. We also organised a concert by Ajay-Atul, the famous Marathi music composer-director duo, at the Balewadi Sports Complex, to promote awareness about social concerns faced by our society and to give an impetus to organisations like the Prabodhan Trust and the Pimpri Chinchwad Social Foundation, which are working to provide affordable solutions for treating diagnosed health ailments in young ones," says Anil Pharande, chairman, Pharande Spaces and vicepresident, CREDAI (Pune Metro).

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