India’s largest integrated private power utility TATA Power’s wholly owned subsidiary Coastal Gujarat Power Limited has achieved another milestone in promoting holistic development of its community around its Mundra project. This time, CGPL’s project ‘UTKARSH’ has helped increase the per capita income of villagers of Tragadi.
Tragadi village which is situated on the sea coast of Mandvi Taluka comprises of 180 houses with population of 824. Since the village is situated in the coastal region, salt proportion of the soil is very high making it unproductive for farming. Due to this reason, people of Tragadi have been pursuing cattle rearing as a supplementary occupation. Over years, cattle’s rearing has emerged as one of the key sources of income in Tragadi as returns from lands are very poor. Further, due to the presence of vendor-based trading in the area, the villagers could not get adequate leverage from their profession. The cost of rearing livestock was high but returns from the sale of milk were low.
This impasse triggered project UTKARSH when CGPL held a group meeting in the Tragadi village with 34 principal cattle rearers to impart information on the nuances of this business, live-stock and gathering data base on milk production. “UTKARSH” is jointly promoted by CGPL through TATA Power Community Development Trust and VRTI, Mandvi. During the meeting, it was established that there was sufficient milk production but the villagers could not profit due to the low prices paid by the vendors. Once the root of the problem was identified, UTKARSH started its work towards arriving at a solution between the villagers and the vendors. Several consultations later, a cooperative of 34 cattle rearers was formed with the aim of providing information on live stock. Additionally, milk collection centres were also started in collaboration with Sarhad Dairy and an assistance of INR 15,000 per was provided for necessary infrastructure and resources.
Within two months, project UTKARSH achieved wide acceptance among the people and a total revenue of INR 357,142 per was generated against a collection of 14,755 litres of milk that re established the per litre milk price at INR 24 per which is much higher than the earlier price.
Speaking on the initiative, Mr Alok Kanagat executive director of CGPL said that “At TATA Power we aim to make a difference to the quality of lives in our surrounding communities. Utkarsh is a unique initiative and we are happy that it has enhanced the income of villagers in Tragadi village.”