KOLKATA: The father-son duo of Shyam Sunder and Lalit Beriwala believes in the principles of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ and ‘Sarve bhaventu sukhinah’, which motivate them to carry forward the rich legacy of service to the people.
“Philanthropy has been embedded in our cultural heritage, tradition, ethos, social customs, religious scriptures and civilization for a long time. We follow it by heart,” said Lalit Beriwala, director of Shyam Steel Industries Ltd.
Shyam Sunder and his elder brother, the late Sriram Beriwala, started their journey in the iron and steel sector in the years after Independence to become a part of building a new nation. This has remained a source of inspiration for the next generation to ‘give back to society’ to curb social and economic inequalities.
The company’s focussed area is diverse – ranging from health and education to promotion of sports and games, from rural sanitation and public health to environmental protection, afforestation and protection of historical monuments, buildings, as well as women’s empowerment. During the pandemic, they supported hundreds in distress in the tribal areas of Jangalmahal in Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand with dry ration and medicines through NGOs, besides supplying groceries to villagers who lost their livelihood or were rendered homeless due to cyclone Yaas. Masks and sanitisers were distributed, and vaccination camps were held for the needy as part of a sensitization drive.
“We also helped with setting up of oxygen plants, distribution of concentrators, purchase of oxygen cylinders and medicines through different NGOs across the country. To support the livelihood of the community, Shyam Steel distributed e-rickshaws to several beneficiaries in Maharashtra, Punjab, Assam and Bihar during the pandemic under the ‘Khud Kamao Ghar Chalao’ scheme,” the director said.
In the education sector, the company has provided financial assistance of Rs 20,00,000 to Friends of Tribal Society to augment infrastructure of 100 Ekal Vidyalayas, helped Durgapur Society for Training and Rehabilitation with Rs 8,87,143 to support education of poor kids and provided Rs 6,82,000 to Ramakrishna Mission Sevashram and others. “Hundreds of poor and meritorious students have been extended financial support over the last several years to pursue higher education in India and abroad under Shyam Steel’s CSR initiatives,” said emeritus chairman Shyam Sunder Beriwala.
The father-son duo believes it is important to work beyond focused priorities as all sectors of community life are important. They feel the main aim should be towards activities for the benefit of the society as a whole – across caste, creed, sex, and religion. “In rural sanitation and public health, we have given Rs 21,00,000 to Calcutta Bastra Byabasayi Samiti towards providing health and sanitation facilities in Gangasagar; spent Rs 45,63,117 for distribution of sanitary napkins among underprivileged women; provided financial assistance of Rs 5,50,966 to Help Age India,” said Lalit.
“The company has contributed to Sri Bramahchari Jayram Das Panchayati Gaushala and Shree Nimbark Gauseva Trust, among others, for animal healthcare facilities and protection. We have also provided financial assistance of Rs 2,00,000,00 to Ram Janmabhoomi Teethakshetra and Rs 97,62,000 to Shree Jagannath Temple Administration Puri towards protection of ancient monuments and heritage sites,” he added.
The director and the emeritus chairman feel serving mankind with dedication should be the key motto. They believe NGOs should always work with the objective to make the world a happy place. “The central and state governments, private sectors and NGOs must have a commonality of purpose and convergence in actions. NGOs need to act as facilitators of social and economic upliftment,” said Lalit.