Tuesday, 28 July 2020

With COVID pandemic and the uncertainty jeopardizing the economy, HR departments are trying their best to keep the business operations stable and the employees motivated but is it as easy as it sounds? Jay Raval finds out in conversation with Ms. Deepa Dave, General Manager-HR, Piramal Sarvajal. 

Three months back COVID-19 struck and started disrupting routine, lifestyle, businesses and the global economy. As this pandemic was on the rise, most of the countries declared the current situation as a national emergency locking down everything apart from the essential services, which required organisations to change the course of working. At Piramal Sarvajal, response to COVID became the top priority for HR department. To begin with, a multi-department emergency response team was constituted, comprising of 10 members, sending a message that preparations are in place for an effective, collaborative and coordinated response to the pandemic. 

Focus being on the safety of employees and customers, HR team made phone calls. Deepa during the conversation tells “There are some of the employees who might not have the facility to access the email or government advisory every time like, Drivers, Plant Operators, CALM Executives, so it’s important that calls are made and they are educated about the preventive steps to be taken for theirs and family’s well-being. Around 12 team calls within a span of 3 days were done with different teams along with their leads. Each call lasting nearly 45 mins, we spoke about preventive measures for the well-being of employees and measures at the Sarvajal drinking water facilities, so that community continues to take water without any fear and panic and we continue to serve our community during these difficult times”. 

To ensure smooth and regular communication with staff, region-wise point of contacts were made and WhatsApp groups were created. Marketing team pitched in to prepare awareness materials which were then circulated. “It was really pleasant to experience that what guidelines and steps were imparted were followed with complete sincerity at various locations”.

To streamline work from home, guidelines were developed and shared with teams. With infection rising high, fear and anxiety can affect the mental and physical well being of the people. Team HR took in steps towards that direction too. Deepa elaborates on the steps taken“During the lockdown period we started Employee connect in which Paresh and Kshitij made calls to every employee. The objective of calling was to understand their and families well being in a way assuring that we are here to help, we care. The main reason being we have employees who are staying alone, from other states, who are staying in a joint family and are working in the field. if we found employee’s family member was not well, we were in touch with them till the time they recovered.  There were two JFE’s stuck in the lockdown so, Paresh was in touch with them till the time they reached their place. Amita sensitively handled issues of an employee staying in Ahmedabad during lockdown period”. Deepa talks about the ripple effect it created. “In these 3 months, employee calling helped my team members to get more connected with each of the employees of the organisation. More importantly, my team has developed an amazing rapport during these times”.  Expertise from Piramal Swasthya team was utilised to provide information about COVID Infection along with Inhouse sessions.  

With the easing of lockdown restrictions and reopening of the office, HR team prepared well in advance. Deepa while talking about preparation adds, “In conjunction with office opening guidelines, allowing limited no of employees to come to the office, conducting daily temperature screenings and symptom checks before employees enter the office, requiring employees to wear a face mask, having Aarogya setu app, moving workstations to keep employees at least 6 feet apart and ensuring social distancing is maintained were the steps taken”.  

All this required a team effort. Deepa proudly talks about her team members, “Despite the fact that Paresh Mepal and Ashok Bhai stay far away, they, including Mahendra did not say no, whenever they were asked to come making sure that office is sanitised and safeguard equipment are in place before other team members come. Before opening office, Paresh and Amita checked every guideline of the building premise and also spoke to various vendors to provide us quality materials. Awareness sessions on the guidelines were taken by Amita and Paresh for various team members based at Rajasthan, Gorakhpur and MP and warehouse”. 

HR team worked with Finance team to ensure salaries were disbursed on time and deposited in the respective accounts.  Talking with employees on a regular basis has helped HR team connect well and resolve the smallest queries. Deepa as a HR team lead is a strong believer of practicing, before you preach to others. 

She shares example of team member Ashok Bhai. “Ashokbhai has been with us for a long time now. He was well aware of the new normal and personally ensured that all prerequisites are in place. The assurance that he gives “Madam chinta na karo hu chu ne”, is a great relief. Ashok bhai downloaded the Aarogya Setu app, did registration for himself and then he was telling to others to use it”. With the new way of working, Ashokbhai’s tea and hospitality at office (ever smiling face, flowers at desk) helps us relive the earlier moments spent in office. Knowing that roster is followed, he wants be in office for all working days. He has trained Mahendra for making tea”. Further she adds, “Seema silently played an important role along with Amita to ensure that mediclaim coverage process continues during these difficult times. Aarohi was always ready to be in office and support team whether it was to do with guidelines or connecting with team members”. 
The efforts by HR team yielded accolades from the organisation. “When the office reopened first time, we received appreciation from different teams which was heartening” and I would like to say that with all initiatives taken by HR team they shown the example of योगः कर्मसु कौशलम् 

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Delhi Jal Board – Narela Location

As the number of cases has risen in Delhi, many of the local people of Narela, Delhi have started adopting Sarvajal Solutions as shared by operator Ajay Ji. 

The location of Narela, Delhi comes under the Delhi Jal Board. In 2015, due to the prevailing situation of safe drinking water scarcity, they collaborated with Piramal Sarvajal as an implementing partner to provide safe, affordable, and accessible drinking water solutions. 

The location has a hub with 4 spokes to reach out to every area of the community. Currently, the hub has 3 wall mount structure and 1 ring structure machine to fetch water. Till date, 3863 cards have been made. 

 Regular sanitisation and social distancing at Narela 

Ajay ji mentioned, “during the lockdown, Sarvajal Kendra was open 24*7 at Narela, I and other employees were available throughout the day. For self-protection, I put up a rope near my desk to maintain social distancing. People are satisfied with the quality of water and regular services. 
We follow every health guideline to educate our consumers. I reinforce the measures by telling them many times to regularly wash hands and utensils, clean your surroundings and have clean water so that it gets ingrained in their behaviours and actions.”  

 The rope is a reminder for social distancing. 

Consumer Testimonial- Pawan Kumar, (5 members in the family)

During the lockdown when I saw the crowd at Sarvajal plant, I decided to take water from a private supplier. I switched 4 vendors but my family and I were not satisfied with the quality and hygiene. I ended up again taking water from Sarvajal. Ajay Ji suggested me to come early morning to fetch water. In these difficult times, the machine is working constantly and I really appreciate the hard work of the team who manages multiple tasks at the same time.

 Sarvajal Enterprise Management System showing the monthly pattern of daily dispense

The water off-take from March (179710 litres) to May (297714 litres) total production has shown improvement by 65% which shows how people have developed a sense of caring towards themselves and their family. After interacting with the consumers, the feeling of satisfaction and pride is indeed visible and they are happy with the services of Sarvajal. 

Friday, 17 July 2020

Adopt a Village by Standard Chartered Bank- Kharsan, Rajasthan

Picture Courtesy: Radhe Shyam Ji 

Coronavirus has globally impacted the lifestyle of the people overall. No doubt many of us have changed and showed improvements in our day to day activities to stay healthy.

Today I am going to talk about some positives changes adopted by the people of Kharsan, Rajasthan to have safe drinking water. Kharsan is one of the locations adopted by Standard Chartered Bank under its health CSR initiative. Piramal Sarvajal is the implementing partner to provide safe, affordable and accessible drinking water to the underserved. 

While conversing with our operator Mr. Radhe Shyam on how he reinforced his consumers to take Sarvajal Facility regularly is highly insightful. He narrates, "March se ab tak 15 naye card ban gaye hai mai yaha ek hi cheez bolta hu sabko ki saaf safai ke sath sath hume saaf paani bhi lagataar peete rehne ki zarurat hai"

During the conversation, he shared, “whoever is coming across I am trying to explain the situations that the entire nation is facing and we need to fight this together. The raw water TDS is more than 1300 which I regularly update to my costumers and others that it's not safe to drink especially in these difficult times."

Figure 1 Consumers sanitise their utensils before filing water and cover their mouth to reduce the risk of being infected 

While continuing conversing with him, I couldn't control myself to ask him about what changes he has personally seen in his life during the lockdown. He then laughed and very calmly said “it is now inbuilt in me that no matter what, I have to clean the plant and sanitize the ATM regularly. I never imagined that this habit is going to sustain but now it's happening naturally and I feel good about it that I am doing something to contribute in my community.”

About the consumers, he explains that many of them have started having a feeling that this facility is set up for us then why to go outside the village and bring water when we have the facility with health security as the plant is sanitised regularly. 

One of the consumers shared "ye bohot accha hai ki is kathin paristhiti mai humare gaon mai ye suvidha hai jisse hum kabhi bhi paani le sakte hai" It is a matter of pride for them to have Sarvajal affordable and safe drinking water facility in their village. 

Figure 2 Consumers sanitise their utensils before filing water and cover their mouth to reduce the risk of being infected 

I ended with the same by congratulating him for his efforts and shared the improvement in the water off-take by comparing April production from May water production. (March- 19212 litres and May- 34097 litres) There is a remarked improvement by 77% which is commendable. 

He acknowledged and happily said “madam abhi toh bhi bhadega ab log jagruk ho rahe hai samajh rahe hai ki paani bhi saaf lena hi hai, agar is paristhiti se majbooti se ladna hai toh”

Figure 3 Sarvajal Enterprise Management System shows litre dispense of May month

By sharing his experiences around the consumers it was evident that with his consistent efforts and community engagement has remarkably increased the responses. Community is now adopting safe and healthy lifestyle habits. 

Monday, 13 July 2020

Akkalkuwa Block, Nandurbar District, Maharashtra

Drinking water is valuable to us, we don’t get it every day,” said an old man in Kankalmal,  a small village in Nandurbar, during the village meet regarding the Swajal Scheme orientation. With the presence & cooperation of Mr. Jalsing Tadavi, Sarpanch of Kakalmal Village, the program was organized by the Zila Parishad Executive Engineer Team & Piramal Foundation in Akkalkuwa Block’s  Satpuda range. 

The words of the man described the situation that was a reality of 30 families in the same village, until a few months back, when the Arogya Sakhi (CRP-SHG) took lead to mobilize the other women in the community to approach the local government to raise their concerns over the issue. In the scorching summers, the Kankalmal united to resolve the water deficit when it was the most needed. Together, they succeeded in constructing 20 soak pits. The women began to speak on public platforms which boosted their confidence and also generated awareness among them. 

Today, women no longer peek from the window when village meetings are held. It was the start of an attitudinal change among women that was followed by other changes. 

The village showed a significant improvement in water availability from being a water-scarce village. This was possible due to efficient water conservation techniques and involvement of women in decision making at the local panchayats. Being an inspiration to other neighbouring villages, they are among the first villages in the cluster to construct eight household rainwater harvesting structures. 

Kankalmal location set an example of how a community can resolve climatic challenges like acute water shortages, by approaching problems collectively.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Kattur- Adopt a Village by Ashok Leyland
Story by: Vaishali Sharma
Sourced by: Laxmi Narayan

Now when the government has announced Unlock 2.0 in the nation, Tamil Nadu is a state where the Lockdown is still there and it’s been 3 months since the state is following the rules and regulations to protect themselves from this invisible virus.

Voice of Consumers

Mrs Thisla, Age-48,

“It’s been one and a half years since my family and I have started taking water from Sarvajal and can't imagine my life without this service.  Sarvajal water is God's gift especially during this lockdown period.” 

One of the locations Kattur in Chennai was adopted by Ashok Leyland on 22nd January 2019 to provide safe, affordable, and accessible drinking water services with the implementing partner Piramal Sarvajal

The population is largely depended on agriculture. In January they cultivated a huge amount of rice (Paddy in Tamil). When the nation lockdown was announced, the community faced challenges in doing their daily practices. 

As the community had 3 COVID positive patients as shared by our operator Vennila Ji and the consumers as well. Local panchayat announced it to be a completely restricted area and from then all are staying at home.

Sarvajal Enterprise Management System showing the monthly pattern of daily dispense

During this difficult situation, people stopped taking water from the private plant which is at Kadapppakam village, 3 km away from Kattur. When the quality and cleanliness were the priority, a total of 116 new cardholders enrolled for the services of Sarvajal. Till date, the location has 458 cardholders. The water off-take from March (97,039 litres) to May (1,31,124 litres) total production showed improvement by 36%.
Voice of Consumers 
Mrs Latha age-35,
“I got hope and became a member of Sarvajal when Vennila Ji explained the stages and process of purification. I initially used to think that a lot of chemicals is used to purify the water. I am now satisfied and taking water regularly from our clean Sarvajal plant. Now it has become a lifeline for us.”
While speaking to our consumers they shared about how they build trust with our services over a period of time. Vennila Ji has fixed the timing of her availability, 6 to 10 AM, and 4 to 9 PM and has mentioned the same outside the plant. She regularly speaks to the people and allows them to visit the plant from inside and see how it is regularly cleaned. One of the consumers talked about how Sarvajal services keep a track of their monthly expenditure on the water as compared to Kadappakam which has a coin facility.

Vennila Ji is the first women operator among all the locations of Ashok Leyland. She set an example that women can also lead and take charge of the facility installed for the benefit of all people. She is smoothly managing the plant with 9 Village water Committee members and feels happy and confident for the efforts they put in together.

“Only by giving are you able to receive more than you have.”
— Jim Rohn

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Hetimpur, Uttar Pradesh-

Adopt a Village by IndusInd bank UP

Story by: Vaishali Sharma
Picture courtesy: Vinod Ji (Operator)

After the health crisis hit the country leaving poor and less privileged groups most affected, Sarvajal Kendra stood a continuous stand on the ground with more than 1700+ touchpoints across India. It came out as a blessing for our beneficiaries and new cardholders as well. 

During the time of lockdown and even post, people faced safe drinking water challenges. Many private vendors stopped giving their services due to health uncertainties. At the beginning of the pandemic, people took the time to accept changes and adapt to the precautionary measures. Here the consumers of Hetimpur location shared their experiences of how they did the same. 

“Initially there were was less fear, villagers and I thought that it is not going to affect us as we haven’t travelled outside the village so had less belief in facts. But when the cases increased drastically facts over fear were the only acceptance that it can happen anytime and with anyone. Taking precautions is the only thing we all can collectively do.” 

"Shuruaat mai mere aur logo ke mann mai ye chal raha tha ki virus hume nahi lag sakta hai kyonki humne travel nahi kia hai gaon se bahar. Par jab cases ki ginti bhadti gai tab accept karne lage ki ab savdhaani sath milkar sabhi ko rakhni hogi." – Mr.Dinesh

He mentioned the efforts of Panchayat for providing ration and necessities during the lockdown. Also, Vinod Ji, our operator who consistently sanitises the ATM, educate customers to use masks, wash hands and utensils whenever they come to take water from the Kendra. 

He continued sharing, “Log apna vyavhaar badle jab aasaani se samajh aaya aur sabhi log karne lag gaye sath mai” "People changed their behaviour when they were able to understand easily and everyone did collectively." This statement came out strongly from the consumer which reflects the overall feel of the community in terms of how they adopted new things together. 

The operator Vinod Ji shared, in the last two months 35 new cardholders are enrolled for Sarvajal Services. 

Sarvajal Enterprise Management System showing the monthly pattern of daily dispense

The water off-take has shown improvement by 58%. (Comparison of march- 15843 litres from May- 24,894 litres of total production) People are satisfied with affordable services during this tough time. 

While asking about their free time with other consumers they shared that Digital Ludo is all time famous among all age groups in the location. 

Consumer, Kunj Bihari Gupta who is a lawyer by profession appreciated the dedication of our operator. He shared when he was not keeping well due to pain in the leg, the operator used to bring a clean water camper at my home. He used to sanitise the camper in front of me before keeping at the door of my house. His humble and kind nature has touched my emotions a lot.” 

This shows how the community turned adversity into acceptance of new things that can protect them from a deadly virus. We are all in the same boat, whether we are the receiver or giver, we all have to come together like them so that we can defeat this virus. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Delhi Jal Board - Holambikalan

Story by: Vaishali Sharma
Picture Credit: Rajinder Ji

As we face global pandemic, people are waking up for new dawn by consciously taking care of themselves and their family. Safety guidelines provided by the government have helped all the sectors to take precautionary measures together. To make this a priority, people are particular about their health and hygiene services.

Figure 1: Consumer Saurabh shares his ease of taking water anytime from Sarvajal Kendra and appreciates the cleanliness of the plant.

I happened to interact with our operator Mr. Rajinder Ji from Holambikalan location, where Delhi Jal Board collaborated with Piramal Sarvajal to provide safe, affordable, and accessible drinking water to the location. 

He shared “Quality and timely availability was highly appreciated by our consumers during the lockdown. When the competitors were not able to provide water with proper hygiene, people naturally turned towards our services and are now happy with the affordable price whereas the private water supply was expensive” There is a sound improvement in the water off-take by 60% (Comparison of March- 154343 litres and April- 245760 litres of total production)

Figure 2 & 3: Operator Rajinder Ji regularly sanitises the ATM and educates consumers to maintain social distancing.

The operators across all locations follow a safety guideline, sanitising the ATM all the time, reminding people to maintain social distancing and asking villagers to wash their hands and utensils. 

Meanwhile, he shares about how he overcomes the situation when suddenly the machine got stopped during the lockdown. Being an engineering background he managed to fix the issues with the help of our Territory Manager Ranjeet Ji’s instructions through video conferencing. He is thankful to him who provided immense support and motivation during this difficult period. 

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” — Hellen Keller

Virpal Ji, a consumer shares - "When everything was shut during the lockdown, Sarvajal Kendra was open and employees were throughout committed to their duties.”

Figure 4: Consumer- Virpal Ji 

The operator was indeed appreciating the consistency of other employees who were filling the Spoke daily. In the end, Rajinder Ji narrates, “Collective efforts helped us keep going yet for another day.” 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment", these lines by Mahatma Gandhi become real when you know more about Deepak Kalankar, Territory Manager, his work in Bhaur Village in Maharashtra. Jay Raval brings to you the story of Deepak.

Back in 2017, Deepak Kalankar had a choice, having a doctorate degree, he could either continue teaching in a college or start a career in the safe drinking water sector which was not known to him. He chose the latter, after three years he doesn't regret leaving teaching career and enjoys being part of the organisation, working as a Territory Manager for Maharashtra.

A native of the village Bhaur, where Sarvajal has put up a safe drinking water facility, Deepak resides closer to the village along with his family. During our chat, Deepak mentioned he being from the village did not participate in the selection of the village for a safe drinking water intervention. The only reason for the village being shortlisted for intervention was that there was a need of Safe drinking water in the village.

Deepak tells that belonging to the village, my familiarity with the local situation helped me create awareness on the benefits of drinking safe water. Since community economic status was good and there was a need for the drinking water, it occurred to them why not spend on drinking water. “Jo log 100-200 rupaye me idhar udhar kharch karte the un logo ke mann me aaya kyu na hum shudh pani ke liye kharch kare?

Due to focused community awareness activities conducted in December 2018, more and more people started adopting Sarvajal water in Bhaur. Deepak saw an opportunity to leverage the same to continue to connect with the community in Bhaur, hence shared video testimonials of satisfied Sarvajal customers with non and infrequent users.

Though the project tenure has ended and the safe drinking water facility has been handed over to the village, Deepak ensured that Sarvajal customers should continue to take water. Last year there was a raw water issue in Bhaur due to drought in Maharashtra and everyone was very concerned about the same. Deepak at his personal cost brought water tankers for two-three months to ensure raw water is available for the plant “Maine soch liya tha jo kuch bhi ho jaye, customer tootne nahi chahiye, logo ko shudh jal milte rehna chahiye”.

This also created a positive effect on the community. “Logo ko yeh samajh mein aa gaya ki yaha par raw water shortage nahi hogi, log hamari machine se paani lena nahi chode”. When Corona infection had begun to rise in the state and the country, Deepak sprung into action, talking to the community about COVID safeguard measures and drinking filtered water to keep themselves healthy.
Deepak requested village community members to not to purchase water from outside the village but take water from Sarvajal plant only and because of the rapport built the community members supported us. The lockdown had its effect on inward migration to the village, but then it increased utilisation of the Sarvajal facility.

He says “Jo log shehero me reh rahe the aur unke ghar vale gaav me the, voh log vapis aa gaye aur ve log hamare plant ka paani peene lage kyonki unko shehar mein filter paani peene ki aadat thi. unki vajah se ghar ke sab logo ne yaha se pani lena shuru kar diya” Deepak through these advocates communicated the message in the village“Itna achha aur saste dam par paani kahi nahi milta toh sabko yahi pani pina chahie”.Since Sarvajal plant is handed over to the Panchayat, they are not giving any new RFID cards to customers but are using one card to provide water from the plant.

He proudly says, “Currently our Sarvajal plant is producing 2000-2500 litres every day, and so reject water tank is overflowing”. In order to avoid water wastage, Deepak has made double pipe connections such that if a person wants to take water from the reject water tank he/she can just shift the cork and get the water easily. And if reject water tank starts overflowing, cork can be readjusted, making water flows underground to a pit where there was a dried hand pump, being used as a recharge pit.

Deepak mentions inhibitions of the community taking water from the plant due to risk of COVID infection. He made extra efforts. “In addition to sanitising the ATM and plant, we have provided soap and water to wash hands in front of the Sarvajal plant, place where reject water tank is located. This small effort made the community happy and showed them that we cared about them”. Deepak’s 2 brothers also work in Sarvajal. “Me, my brothers Sonal and Ganesh visit the village regularly and with the help of Ganesh’s technical know-how, we also tackle operational challenges, if any.

Towards the end of the conversation, Deepak wants this practice of getting reject water tank which he did at his own cost to be replicated in every location to address raw water issue and save water. However, Sarvajal needs people like Deepak just like his name- illuminating, Sarvajal with his endeavours to serve the community with safe drinking water.

The trio brothers - Sonal (Operator), Deepak and Ganesh (Field engineer) in the picture.