Dealing with COVID-19 has added to the many challenges and pressures that the underprivileged communities have to face every day. It has also pushed many people back into poverty. In such difficult times, L&T took the lead to address key issues – such as setting up ICUs to treat COVID-19 patients, equipping Government hospitals with ventilators, providing PPE kits, gloves and masks to healthcare workers and making food and basic provisions available to those in need. L&T’s CSR team actively got involved and assumed responsibility for educating communities about COVID-19 prevention and safety measures in the project areas and provided counselling and referrals wherever required.
L&T spent over ₹ 36 crore in COVID Care across 12 states in India in 2020-21
The pandemic and the sudden lockdown resulted in the loss of employment for thousands of people in the country. It was especially harsh for daily wagers and their families, who were left with no money or basic essentials, forcing them to struggle day to day. As a first response to the unfolding crisis, L&T initiated efforts to ensure supply of food and essentials for children belonging to daily wagers and other vulnerable families across Powai and Turbhe in Mumbai.
For over a decade, L&T, through its CSR initiatives has been reaching out to children in the slums around its Powai (Mumbai) and Mahape (Navi Mumbai) campuses through balwadis and after-school study centres. These children belong to families with a single daily wager – a rickshaw driver, vegetable vendor, painter, etc. – many of whom lost their livelihood due to the lockdown.
L&T collaborated with NGO partner, Save The Children India (STCI), for relief work in these areas to ensure that such families continue to have basic food and nutrition security. Through this initiative, ration kits containing dal, rice, wheat, salt, sugar, oil, tea, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and vegetables like onions and potatoes were provided to approximately 1,400 families. Sanitation kits containing bathing and detergent soaps, disinfectant for cleaning floors, toothpaste, hair oil and sanitary pads were also distributed to them.
The distribution drive was carried out with the utmost care adhering to physical distancing norms to deter the spread of the virus.
The first phase of the lockdown in March 2020 was followed by multiple reports of daily wagers and migrant workers lacking access to food supplies and/or shelter. Though Mumbai’s administration had responded by setting up relief camps and food canteens, the number of people affected was overwhelming and the risk of many slipping through the cracks was imminent.
When Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) approached corporates and NGOs for support, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and interested citizens came together and launched the Mumbai Food Project on 30th March 2020. L&T and its NGO partner, Pratham Mumbai Education Initiative Trust, responded quickly to the pressing need by being among the first supporters of this humanitarian drive.
Temporary food camps and distribution zones were set up across Mumbai serving nearly 8,000 packed meals and kits with essential items every day. The drive was carried out through Pratham’s well-established network and community programmes, with the much-needed support from MCGM.
In Chennai, L&T responded to the crisis by serving hygienically prepared food to frontline healthcare workers. Though these workers and hospital staff put in efforts to ensure care for their patients, many of them did not have access to essentials, especially food.
To mitigate this crisis, L&T, in collaboration with partner NGO YRG Care, served 43,150 meals (2,500 meals per day for 17 days) across seven Government hospitals in the city. Another 20,000 meals were distributed in association with Feed My Chennai programme to people in distress (especially migrant workers and the homeless) who were stranded during the lockdown.
The Government’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and treat the infected during the peak of the pandemic fell short due to limited and overburdened resources. L&T responded by supporting the healthcare infrastructure and providing preventive gear and medical supplies for frontline health workers.
The Company also donated treatment, testing and diagnostic equipment to Government hospitals across the country.
L&T continues to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the most effective ways possible