Press Release

“Okhai” – nationwide first retail outlet inaugurated in Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad,July 4, 2008

An initiative by Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD)

OKHAI – Magical Hands! Mystical Colours! A brand created & promoted by Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) with the aim of generating employment in rural areas, opens its nationwide first retail outlet at Himalaya Mall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad. The ‘Okhai’ retail outlet was inaugurated by Honorable Shri. Saurabhbhai Patel - Minister of State for Finance, Energy, Industry and Petrochemicals. Dr. Arup Basu, COO – Chemicals, Tata Chemicals Limited & Mr. Ashvini Hiran, COO - Consumer Products Business, Tata Chemicals Limited were also present at the occasion.

The Okhamandal region in Gujarat is a drought prone area, where handicrafts have been identified as a promising means of generating livelihood for hundreds of women of this area. TCSRD has taken a revolutionary initiative by forming Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the villages of Okhamandal region and the members of these groups are involved in handicrafts production. At present, hundreds of women are benefiting from this programme. The handicrafts made by these women are promoted under the brand name ‘Okhai’.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Arup Basu, COO – Chemicals, Tata Chemicals Limited, said, “We are delighted to launch the first ‘Okhai’ retail outlet in Ahmedabad. The opening of this retail outlet is a step towards our dream of a prosperous rural Gujarat. This initiative is an amalgamation of Rural & Urban India – a platform to bring the products of rural craftsmanship to a growing city like Ahmedabad,.”

“Tata Chemicals realizes the need for women empowerment at the grass root level and has been continuously facilitating them with various initiatives for the development of self, family and society. And with ‘Okhai’, we have been successful in making a remarkable difference in the lives of rural women. It has not only helped the rural women earn better livelihood, but has also spread awareness about the traditional crafts of the region. Thus, helping us preserve a rich part of our national cultural heritage for generations to come”, Said Ms. Alka Talwar, Head Community Development, Tata Chemicals Limited.

Women of Okhamandal are endowed with the talent and traditional skills to make exquisite handicrafts in the typical Okhamandal style. The custom of producing traditional handicrafts for ceremonial functions is widely prevalent amongst the tribes like the Ahirs, the Rabari, the Charan, and communities like the Lohana and Harijan. Mirror work, patchwork, embroidery and appliqué work are all a vibrant expression of their way of life, their rituals and their legends. Thus, handicrafts were identified as a promising means of generating livelihood for hundreds of women in the area.

About Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD)

Tata Chemicals Limited (TCL) set up the Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) in 1980 to promote its social objectives for the communities in and around Mithapur, where its facility is located. This service was further extended to the communities in and around its Babrala and Haldia facilities.

The Society works to protect and nurture the rural populations in and around TCL's facilities, and helps people achieve self-sufficiency in natural resource management, livelihood support and the building of health and education infrastructure.

Taking into account the different geographical spread of the three regions and their individual subcultures, different agricultural, economic and development programmes have been implemented in these regions.

Tata Chemicals Limited was one of the first organizations to hold an Impact camp, which was held at Mithapur in the year 1982, providing eye care to hundreds of patients at the Mithapur Hospital. Tata Chemicals Limited was also the first organization to run world’s first hospital on wheels – the Life Line Express, through Jamnagar district for the first time between November 21, 2004 and December 21, 2004.