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Vedanta launches ‘Project Panchhi’ for recruiting 1000 girls from underserved communities



On the eve of International Women’s Day, Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, has launched ‘Project Panchhi’ at its Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi of Odisha.

Project Panchhi is Vedanta’s innovative corporate recruitment drive which a​​ims to employ1000 girls from economically backward communities, across its diverse businesses in metals, mining, oil & gas situated pan-India. The target demography of this drive is girls from lower income families who are likely to opt out of pursuing further studies and a fulfilling career, owing to financial and social constraints.

In the first phase, 40 such girls have been identified for recruitment at Vedanta Aluminium’s Lanjigarh operations. The selected candidates were handed over their offer letters in the felicitation ceremony attended by Lanjigarh MLA Pradeep Kumar Dishari, Kalahandi Collector P Anwesha Reddy, Sub Collector Dr Biswajit Das, Lanjigarh BDO Jitendra Mishra, Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members from the 10 Gram Panchayats in the peripheral community spanning Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, Vedanta Limited – Alumina Business Deputy CEO GG Pal and CHRO Dilip Kumar Sinha.

The fact that these girls, many of whom are first generation learners, have made it to the last leg of their schooling is indicative of the many odds they have overcome and are hence, a talent pool Vedanta is keen on exploring. Vedanta is undertaking a rigorous selection process to identify the right set of candidates based on various criteria and will then sponsor their graduation as they undergo courses in leading institutions of national repute. Post completion of graduation, the job offers will get formalised and these girls will then join Vedanta’s operations as graduate trainees in core operations.

Project Panchhi strives towards inclusive development of the local communities, in line with Vedanta’s overall vision for diversity, equity and inclusion. The objective of the programme is two-fold – To create opportunities for deserving young women from underserved, remote communities in the immediate vicinity of the company’s metals, mining and oil & gas businesses in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Goa, etc.; and to increase the diversity in its workforce by specifically focusing on the recruitment of girls and women, who are underrepresented in the metals, mining & heavy engineering industries.

Vedanta’s Lanjigarh operations house a world-class 2 MTPA alumina refinery, which feeds the company’s state-of-the-art aluminium smelters at Jharsuguda (Odisha) and BALCO (Chhattisgarh). The refinery is currently undergoing expansion to 5 MTPA and will deploy significant manpower across various departments. This offers immense opportunities for the recruits to get a hands-on learning experience.It will also serve as an inspiration for thousands of other girls and women across India to aspire for a career in the manufacturing industry.

Speaking about Project Panchhi, Vedanta Limited – Alumina Business Deputy CEO GG Pal said, “At Vedanta Lanjigarh, our developmental endeavours in the realms of education, healthcare, livelihood & skill development, art & culture, and community infrastructure have women & children at the heart of it. ‘Project Panchhi’ is a visionary initiative by our Chairman, Mr. Anil Agarwal, to reach deeper into India’s hinterlands and enable aspiring young girls with the knowledge and skills they need to self-empower. We are delighted to select our first batch of 40 girls and look forward to the prospect of welcoming them into our workforce in the near future, grooming them and seeing them evolve into stalwarts in their fields.”

Speaking about the noble cause, MLA Pradeep Kumar Dishari said, “Vedanta has had an immense contribution in the growth of Lanjigarh and the communities here. The initiative of Project Panchhi is a very noble program which will encourage more girls to pursue higher education and aspire for fulfilling careers, which will also make them financially sufficient. This initiative will break a lot of social boundaries and help in creating sustainable livelihoods for the community.”

Applauding the initiative, Kalahandi Collector P Anwesha Reddy said, “Project Panchhi is a unique initiative of Vedanta towards promoting women empowerment in the nation. Providing young girls who couldn’t pursue higher studies with avenues to lead an independent career in Vedanta speaks volumes about the social impact they are willing to generate in the communities. I would wish all these young girls the best for their careers and would wish for all of them to have long independent careers and potentially grow up to become bright women leaders across the nation.”

Chakri Majhi, father of Suriyakanti Majhi, one of the girls selected under this program shared his thoughts on the initiative saying, “Vedanta has come up with a very never-seen-before​ ​initiative in Project Panchhi. It gives me immense happiness to see that the company is taking a step towards giving our young girls the opportunity to pursue higher studies which would not have been possible otherwise, and eventually become employed in one of the world’s greatest aluminium plants. I am delighted to see my daughter get selected as part of the program. Vedanta Aluminium has contributed immensely to the growth of our communities and the Kalahandi district.This initiative will not only help our daughters grow personally and professionally, but will go a long way towards bettering their quality of life.”

Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.27 million tonnes in FY22. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 2nd in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2022 world rankings for aluminium industry, a reflection of its sustainable development practices. The company operates a 2 MTPA (million tonnes per annum) capacity alumina refinery in Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district, Odisha) since 2007 and an associated 75 MW captive power plant. With its world-class aluminium smelters, alumina refinery and power plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.

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