On Utkal Diwas, Vedanta pledges to fortify the cultural heritage of Odisha

30th March 2022

  • Works with Kalahandi artisans to mainstream the ancient artform of Dhokra
  • Increases support in furthering the enterprises of artisans through raw materials, technical expertise, micro-finance and market linkage

Bhubaneswar, 30th March 2022: On Utkal Diwas, Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, commemorates the rich cultural heritage of Odisha and commits to mainstream the beautiful and ancient artform of Dhokra, by working with artisans from the Kankeri village, situated near its Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh (Kalahandi, Odisha). Preservation of local cultural heritage, including tribal sports and arts, has been a constant endeavour on the company’s part. Going further still, the company has been working towards creating sustainable livelihoods in these artforms for local artisans by upskilling them, helping them get recognition at national and international platforms, and avail market linkage opportunities.

As a shining example of Vedanta Aluminium’s efforts, stands the village of Kankeri, nestled deep within the forests of Kalahandi district in Odisha. The village is home to artisans skilled in the ancient metalworking artform of Dhokra, which has been a part of India’s rich handicraft legacy for nearly 5000 years, dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization. This skill that has been handed down to the habitants for generations, was limited to making rudimentary trinkets for their own use and for selling in the nearby village markets. This was not enough to make their ends meet, due to which the locals were forced to let go of their expertise and migrate to neighbouring states to work as construction labourers.

Recognising the potential of this village to become a vibrant hub of Dhokra, Vedanta Aluminium trained the artisans to produce contemporary designs through modern techniques, provided the initial seed capital for procuring metal and raw materials, and created market linkage opportunities (through exhibitions and other relevant platforms) to sell their art pieces at a better price. Encouraged by the fruits of its labour, in the second phase, the company established a raw material bank for continuous art production, provided diesel generators to support Dhokra production, opened a Self-Help Group bank account to provide adequate financial support, and educated and assisted the households to open bank accounts to save their hard-earned money and earn an interest on their deposits.

The company also collaborated with the Government of Odisha for the public recognition of these artisans through ‘artisan cards’, which helped them participate in government-held exhibitions, demonstrate, and commercialise their works. Besides reviving a precious art form, this project has successfully curbed the migration of these artists outside the state. Earlier, the residents of Kankeri did not have access to the most basic amenities essential for modern life, such as electricity, mobile connectivity, insurance, access to healthcare, etc. The Dhokra Art Revival project drew the attention of local authorities, who then brought in the government’s social schemes to the village like electricity and LPG connection, and created much needed village infrastructure. Vedanta further augmented the government’s efforts by giving each household smokeless chulhas, fruiting trees, and more.

Talking about Vedanta Aluminium’s endeavours towards preserving and promoting cultural heritage and traditions, Mr. Rahul Sharma, CEO, Vedanta Aluminium said, “Ancient art forms like Dhokra are a national treasure, depicting the richness of our history. This Utkal Diwas, Vedanta Aluminium recommits to reviving these indigenous art forms by nurturing the creative potential of rural artisans, which has for the longest time, remained unexplored. It gives us immense pleasure to see that our endeavours have not just brought recognition for the Dhokra artisans of Kankeri but also created a new market for them, resulting in more business and increased household income. Our commitment is to enable the communities around us to become empowered and self-reliant participants in the economic progress of the country.”

Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest manufacturer of aluminium, producing half of India’s aluminium i.e., 1.97 million tonnes in FY21. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. 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.

www.vedantaaluminium.com

About Vedanta Limited:

Vedanta Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Limited, is one of the world’s leading Oil & Gas and Metals company with significant operations in Oil & Gas, Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Iron Ore, Steel, and Aluminium & Power across India, South Africa and Namibia. For two decades, Vedanta has been contributing significantly to nation building. Governance and sustainable development are at the core of Vedanta's strategy, with a strong focus on health, safety, and environment. Vedanta has put in place a comprehensive framework to be the ESG leader in the natural resources sector. Vedanta is committed to reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050 or sooner and has pledged $5 billion over the next 10 years to accelerate the transition to net zero operations. Giving back is in the DNA of Vedanta, which is focused on enhancing the lives of local communities. The company’s flagship social impact program, Nand Ghars, have been set up as model anganwadis focused on eradicating child malnutrition, providing education, healthcare, and empowering women with skill development. Under the aegis of the Anil Agarwal Foundation, the umbrella entity for Vedanta’s social initiatives, the Vedanta group has pledged Rs 5000 crore over the next five years on social impact programmes with a thrust on nutrition, women & child development, healthcare, animal welfare, and grass-root level sports. Vedanta and the group companies company have been featured in Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2020, and was conferred Frost & Sullivan Sustainability Awards 2020, CII Environmental Best Practices Award 2020, CSR Health Impact Award 2020, CII National Award 2020 for Excellence in Water Management, CII Digital Transformation Award 2020, ICSI National Award 2020 for excellence in Corporate Governance, People First HR Excellence Award 2020, ‘Company with Great Managers 2020’ by People Business and certified as a Great Place to Work 2021. Vedanta’s flagship Nand Ghar Project was identified as best CSR project by Government of Rajasthan. Vedanta Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.

For more information, please visit www.vedantalimited.com

About Vedanta Aluminium Business:

Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing more than half of India’s aluminium at 2.26 million tonnes in FY22. Vedanta is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. 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.

For more information, please log on to www.vedantaaluminium.com

For Further Information, Please Contact:

Ms. Sonal Choithani
Chief Communications Officer
Aluminium Business, Vedanta Ltd.
Sonal[dot]Choithani[at]vedanta[dot]co[dot]in
www.vedantaaluminium.com

Disclaimer:

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