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Entrepreneurs with a green cause

Panaji based Lila Digital and Environmental Solutions has all that it takes to help local industry achieve the goal of green business, finds out Shoma  Patnaik

With public awareness high these days no business wants to look as if it is taking environment for granted. Whatever the area of operations, the trend is of industry presenting an environment friendly face to customers and government.  Thus companies currently are more willingly than before to spend on measures that benefit the natural ecosystem.

All this is good news for the few local firms specialising in environment services. After going through the initial hiccups of a new enterprise, Panaji based Lila Digital and Environmental Solutions is on a firm wicket presently.

Having executed several successful projects for government departments and large industrial units in the state, the unit is looking at opportunities in water management that so far is largely outsourced to non-Goan companies by local user industry. 

“Our firm is turnkey solution provider and we give one-stop solution for water and waste water treatment systems,” says Gavin D’Souza, director. After resolving some of the glitches encountered in local sewage treatment plants (STPs) and effluent treatment plants (ETPs), we have successfully provided services to clients from local industry, resorts and housing complexes, he explains.

In water treatment, the unit completed a 40 MLD capacity water treatment plant for the state at Poducem village, Sattari. In rain water harvesting the clientele includes large industry such as Berger Becker, BPCL, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Pentair, the Goa Cricket Academy and at least four other large companies.

D’souza who is an alumnus of Goa Institute of Management (GIM) believes that, green is going to be an important factor in future for industry. His colleague, Abhinav Apte, an engineer from NIT Rourkela, points out that with environment compliance set to get tighter the firm anticipates increased orders from the local manufacturing units.

 Established in 2010, Lila Digital and Environmental Solutions, has 25 employees in various roles such as civil engineers, site supervisors, machine operators, plumbers and staff. “Our team is such that we have the capability to take on projects, design and execute it and also do the annual maintenance. In fact we set up the project, implement it and also take on the maintenance contract,” explain S’Souza and Apte who are in charge of operations.

D’Souza adds that, the firm was set up with two business division, viz., IT services and environment solutions. In IT division, the unit offers  PAN card services, digital signature, TDS files, etc.

“When the company was formed our revenues were much higher in IT than in environment division. But over the years as we saw the scope in environment our focus is on emerging opportunities in environment,” he says. 

Future areas of business are in vertical gardens and all areas wherever water conservation is possible. “We have recently taken up distributorship for drip irrigation from Jain Irrigation. Our new focus is on drip irrigation for corporate and hotel lawns. Drip irrigation brings down water consumption by almost 50 per cent. Most hotels buy tankers and have not tried out drip irrigation that saves water and hence cost,” explains Apte. He adds that, vertical gardens look aesthetic and also have a functional role to play as they cool the room temperature. Goan hospitality industry is keen on vertical gardens and the company is receiving several enquiries for it.

D’Souza reveals that his academic background is in IT, however soon after working on environment projects he feels very strongly about water conservation. “We have set up several STPs for local industry but we want to spread the message that treated water from the STP can be used for gardening, toilet flush and recycling of STP water is important. Rather than releasing STP water in the drain we are advising people to reuse the water and cut down on PWD bills.”

Lila Digital and Environmental Solutions is a registered company that is compliant with state labour laws and all other regulations. “We pay PF, ESI, GST and all labour compliances,” reveal D’Souza and Apte. They add that, with several of their projects being for government departments it is necessary that the company operations go by the rule book.

Some of our prestigious projects are plumbing works for MPT and the site office of Mopa airport, say the duo who are anxiously looking at Mopa airport progress as they have bagged an STP order for the airport.

Our major clientele is generally builders as we have set up several STPs for housing complexes. “Currently the construction industry in the state is facing a slowdown but we are planning to tap hotels, companies and hospitals for ETPs and STPs. Our company is not a startup as we are over the seven year threshold limit. In turnover we still have to catch up,” discloses D’Souza.

He says that, water tariffs in the state are among the lowest in India and therefore industrial consumers are lethargic in undertaking water harvesting projects. The other problem is that, the state rain water harvesting scheme is hardly publicized so few consumers are aware of the incentives it offers.

D’Souza is of the opinion that to encourage rain water harvesting the government needs to incentivize industry. “There are companies in Goa which have successfully undertaken rain water re-charging but they are not getting anything in return for their efforts. Industry need to be given water credits which is similar to credits given for renewable (solar power),” he says.

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