The idea was discussed in a recent meeting Chief Secretary, Asit Tripathy had with representatives from companies, all of who have large plants in the state; some like Tata Steel which acquired Bhushan Steel in 2018 at more than one location.
“There are nearly 20,000 people working in Kalinganagar, at the end of the day they either go to Jajpur Road or commute from Cuttack, Bhubaneswar. Similarly, more than 50,000 people will work eventually in the Angul – Dhenkanak region. Even today you have about 15,000 working there and there are no industrial townships,” Hemant Sharma, Secretary, Industries told ET.
The idea, one of their more exciting ones in the runup to Make in Odisha, could be developped through SPV or in partnership mode with IDCO, the parastatal agency for land acquisition, taking the lead. Industry however has suggested that the state acquire the land and provide basic utilities, like water and power connections, build internal roads, ATMs and carve out plots.
“In Kalinganar, a 1100 acres has been acquired of which 500 acres will be used for such a township. A very good patch of 500 acres has been identified by the district administration in Jharsuguda, and land has also been identified in Paradip,” said Sharma.
Industry believes the move will help attract talent. Almost 20-25 percent working in Kalinganagar, Odisha’s first industrial estate, travel to and fro from Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, either by trains or by road, pointed out a senior Tata Steel official who asked not to be named. He hoped the new townships aren’t just soulless clusters of residential apartments, but have medical, banking and educational facilities, and more importantly leisure facilities, like cinemas, shopping complexes and restaurants, that will encourage middle income people to stay on.
Paradip is already being developed as ‘smart port’ and ‘smart city’. Paradip Port Trust, Chairman, Rinkesh Roy, says they are already executing infrastructural projects that is sure to draw better talent. “We are building a 10 million tonnes desalination plant, 2-3 sewage treatment plants, we have a good golf course and a railway station in which the port has invested. There is a proposed airstrip and we are looking at upgrading the hospital under PPP model. We will be interested in talking to the state government to see how best both of us can dovetail the infrastructure plans and come up with better solutions,” says Roy.
The port town has IOCL’s refinery and ArcelorMittal-Nippon Steel’s pellet plant (formerly Essar’s) next door. It is expected to see more than one steel plant come up nearby in the future.
Aluminium-maker Nalco and JSPL have their colonies next to their plant near Angul, outside of which stand Tata’s Bhushan Steel and GMR’s power plant which was acquired recently by JSW. Nearby in Talcher are NTPC’s power plant and MCL’s coal mines. Executives ET spoke to welcomed the idea of a mixed township for a better social life, pointing out that at Nalco’s township for example, employees spend years, if not decades eating, sitting, hanging out, spending much of their non-working hours only with fellow Nalco employees.