Ambuja Cements, one of India’s largest and most sustainable cement makers, has built and inaugurated a check dam across the Kalnoi river at Murshidabad in West Bengal that ensures water availability for multiple purposes and a better quality of life to people living in the region.
The check dam aims to solve the problems related to water availability for people in the surrounding villages, which used to be acute prior to its inauguration. Farmers couldn’t get adequate water for irrigating their crops and the people in general couldn’t get enough water for drinking purposes. Recognising the problem, Ambuja Cements offered the community a long-term solution by building a masonry check dam.
That’s because Ambuja Cements is guided by the ideal of creating sustainable and prosperous rural communities—where villagers have the livelihoods, resources and dignity to prosper in life. The company’s technical team of four members designed the check dam after analysing the rainfall data and other patterns of the region like flash flood possibilities. A site was zeroed in on after collaborating with the village leaders. The dam, built in coordination with the local community over 45 days, is such that it will serve the generations to come without any physical failures. It has 10 gates and 2 distillation gates with a storage capacity of 91,000 cubic metres of water which can store the water up to 10 kilometres upstream as the river bed gradient is very less.
The check dam has helped to rejuvenate the Kalnoi river, enabled multi-cropping over 150 hectares of agricultural land in six villages and can facilitate the operation of six lift irrigation systems. With water reaching some of the regions for the first time because of the check dam, all land in the region has become cultivable. Upto 10,000 households receive drinking water from the check dam. It’s located near the ash pond of Ambuja Cements’ manufacturing unit in Kalaidanga, from where water flows without hindrance to the check dam.
Mr. Neeraj Akhoury, CEO India Holcim and MD & CEO of Ambuja Cements Ltd., said, “At Ambuja Cements, the question about building a check dam was never ‘why’ but ‘when’. Such interventions have the power to lift people, families and entire communities out of poverty and give them a prosperous future. Furthermore, if people are to think about development and contribute to the nation, then their basic needs like water must be met. Taking all these factors into consideration, we built a dam that can serve the long-term needs of the community, for the next 75 years at least.”
Ambuja Cements through such interventions continues to empower the families and communities for a better future.