MAC: Mines and Communities

BHP Billiton in funding pact with Prasad Eye Institute

Published by MAC on 2005-10-05

BHP Billiton in funding pact with Prasad Eye Institute

The Business Standard

October 5 2005

BHP Billiton has launched its Development Foundation for India at ceremony in Bhubaneswar, India and announced its first funding agreement with the LV Prasad Eye Institute.

The Foundation will contribute to India's education, health, rural development and indigenous development, across all its states.

MS Ramachandran, chairman of the BHP Billiton India Development Foundation said that the Foundation's principal role was to select partners for long term community development projects particularly in regions where BHP Billiton is actively engaged in exploration and development activity.

"We want the Foundation's work to be a clear demonstration of our commitment to ensuring India's broader communities will benefit from the success of our mining activities in the country", he said.

Don Caroll, president of BHP Billiton India, added that the Foundation, which has an initial budget of Rs 13 crore over three years, had been established to invest in India's human and social capabilities, in line with BHP Billiton commitment to social responsibility and sustainability.

"The Foundation will create a valuable legacy that transcends mining activities and contributes to social development at local and state level", he said.

The Foundation is modelled on other foundations established by BHP Billiton around the world, including the Escondida Foundation in Chile and the Mozal Community Development Trust in Mozambique.

BHP Billiton has won several international awards for its commitment to the community.

The Foundation will work primarily through India NGOs that are assessed as having the requisite probity, proven delivery of outcomes for the poor and the capacity for long term partnerships with BHP Billiton.

The LV Prasad Eye Institute has been assessed as meeting these criteria and is the first NGO to sign an agreement with the Foundation.

The Institute's charter aims at providing 50 per cent of its surgical services free of cost to the economically disadvantaged.

The institute is now building a major eye institute, The Bhubaneswar Eye Institute.

This will have three major centres: a clinical center, which will encompass all patients care activities, an education centre, providing training to range of eye professional and a research centre.

The Foundation will provide approximately Rs 2.2 crore to support the provision of a high quality surgical facility in the Bhubaneswar Eye Hospital as well as the costs of fitting out two outpatient rooms and providing free outpatient care for the poor for 12 months.

Attending the ceremony, chairman of the trustees of the LV Prasad Eye Institute, Dr Gullapalli N Rao said, "This significant support from BHP Billiton is a great example of corporate social responsibility, making world class eye care accessible to some of the most advantaged people of India. We are very pleased to have secured this collaboration with an internationally reputed corporation".

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