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  Social Responsibility

Published on: Feb. 13, 2020, 4:02 p.m.
Chola Investment & Finance is building toilets for truckers around transport hubs
  • The Chola facility in Raipur

By Business India Editorial

ntil 2015, in the transport nagar of Hathkhoj-Bhilai in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, drivers had no option but to use dilapidated toilets or relieve themselves in the open. They were also forced to wash their clothes in these ill-maintained toilets. Many of them were found to be suffering from hygiene issues and other health problems. It was to fill this gap in basic infrastructure that the Chola Investment & Finance Co drew up the plans for the ‘Chola Hut’ – a premium but affordable complex, complete with sanitation, washing and private shower facilities, to serve nearly 10,000 truckers who pass through this nagar every month.

With the company invested in the truck finance business, the starting point for this initiative was a felt moral responsibility to bring dignity to the lives of this largely ignored community.

The first need for this Rs36.7 lakh project was to identify a partnering agency on the ground – one that would implement and maintain the facility on a long-term basis. After a rigorous round of screening, the not-for-profit social service organisation Sulabh International was signed on with a maintenance contract of 30 years.

The company and Sulabh together held talks with the Hathkhoj-Bhilai transport union members, as well as truckers in the transport nagar to understand their needs and chalk out the plan for the infrastructure. Following some challenges in getting approval for the land to construct the structure and the municipal corporation’s approval to run the facility, construction began in March 2015.

A comprehensive facility was inaugurated in July 2016, which also took into consideration the needs of women working at or passing through the nagar. The Hut includes urinals, WCS, bathrooms, washing rooms, showers and a restroom, all looked after by a caretaker. At a nominal fee of Rs2-5 to cover maintenance, the truckers now have access to a completely modern and well-maintained sanitation facility. An average of 300 truckers benefit from this facility every day. The coordination and implementation of the initiative was aided by the participation of Chola’s employees at the Raipur and Bhilai offices. The company plans to replicate this facility in other major trucking hubs across the country.

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