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Vedanta’s ‘waste to wealth’ programmes foster MSMEs in Odisha, Chhattisgarh



India’s largest producer of the aluminium and its value-added products, Vedanta Aluminium & Power Business is fostering hundreds of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in remote rural areas with its innovative ‘waste to wealth’ programmes.

‘Waste to wealth’ projects form a key pillar of Vedanta’s sustainability agenda which is centred around ‘Zero Harm, Zero Waste and Zero Discharge’. With a world-class alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha and state-of-the-art aluminium smelters at Jharsuguda in Odisha and Korba in Chhattisgarh, the company has been instrumental in triggering socio-economic development in some of the country’s aspirational districts.

One such innovative programme being run by Vedanta for fostering local micro-enterprises is fly-ash brick making.

The company supports over a hundred brick manufacturing MSMEs situated around and beyond its areas of operations with fly ash free of cost to their doorsteps, amounting to nearly 5 lakh metric tonnes per annum.

In addition, the company also provides know-how and training on manufacturing these bricks in partnership with technical institutes, thus creating employment avenues as well as promoting circular economy. The beneficiaries from this project are underprivileged villagers who would otherwise depend on cattle rearing, subsistence agriculture or would migrate to other states to work as construction labourers for their livelihood.

More than 90 per cent of fly ash generated at the company’s alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district, is used by local entrepreneurs in their brick manufacturing units.

“At Vedanta, we integrate smart innovation, best-in-class technologies and global best practices to create value for the nation. A strong sustainable development agenda guides all our actions and business decisions, and we are committed to nurturing MSMEs in all our areas of operations. We understand that this responsibility becomes even more pertinent now that a lot of migrant labourers have receded back to their villages in the wake of the pandemic and need sustainable livelihoods in these remote areas. All of our business units have robust waste management systems in place and scientifically manage the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ trifecta of value-creation by working with local entrepreneurs and community members,” said Rahul Sharma, Deputy CEO – Aluminium Business, Vedanta Ltd.

All units of Vedanta’s aluminium business have laid down plans for 100 per cent utilization of fly ash generated at their respective power plants. Besides brick manufacturers, they are also supplying ash to cement manufacturers and for highway construction, building green roads with it, back-filling mine voids for restoring mined-out areas, among other such avenues. In FY21, Vedanta achieved highest ever fly ash utilization of 117 per cent through these methods; and is now looking to expand its ecosystem of MSME partners even further by including more local fly ash brick manufacturers into the fold.

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