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Steely resolve to curb Jamshedpur’s death wish

Tata Steel is teaming up with pro-life organisation Jeevan to stem the rising trend of suicides in Jamshedpur, the latest shocker being Sunday’s student hanging at NIT.

In a city where suicide is almost endemic — 19 in the first month of 2013, 208 in 2012, 206 in 2011, 200 in 2010, 136 in 2009, 173 in 2008 and 167 in 2007 — Tata Steel and Jeevan are framing a multi-point approach to develop “love for life” among people.

For starters, the steel giant is funding Jeevan’s latest life-saving campaign. In a collaboration, the two will install billboards in front of schools with Jeevan helpline number (0657)6453841 so that stressed students can easily know where to call.

In the first phase, 20 schools will be approached. Twenty more will be covered in the next phase. The plan, however, is to cover all 140 schools. Last year, Tata Steel had also funded a Loyola School film Partly Right on what provokes student suicides.

Simultaneously, Tata Steel is looking for volunteer counsellors through the company intranet. Jeevan, with has only 18 volunteers but need 50 at least to become a 24-hour helpline for stressed and distressed callers, could do with some manpower from Tata Steel. Already, 20 executives of the steel major have responded.

“Currently, Jeevan operates for four hours from 2pm to 6pm. Since we understand that people might need us anytime, we want to extend the services round the clock. As not everyone can be volunteers, aspirants undergo a screening test to see if they have the ability to handle emotional pressure of others. This is life-saving social work, after all,” said M. Ram, director, Jeevan.

A Reach Out event to rope in volunteers will take place on February 21 at Centre for Excellence. Invitees — schoolteachers, Tata Steel executives, Loyola School alumni and Rotarians — will take part in the event.

Tata Steel has also lent office space for Jeevan in Bistupur.

Jeevan chairperson Ronald D’Costa clarified that all these efforts were not a knee-jerk reaction to any particular tragedy. “Tata Steel managing director H.M. Nerurkar is concerned and constantly in touch with us. The company has given us Rs 1 lakh for expenses such as billboards,” said, chairperson, Jeevan.

“We are trying to find innovative methods on how to reach people. We want to help them choose and love life. Our executives seem eager to work as counsellor volunteers within time slots. We’re spreading this message through intranet among employees,” Tata Steel head (corporate relations) Anil Oraon said.

Would you like to volunteer as a counsellor at Jeevan?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com