The State of Orissa located on the eastern coast of India is a kaleidoscope of past splendours like the Sun Temple of Konark and other monuments that bear testimony to the great architectural skill of ancient Orissa. The state is known for its picturesque lakes, mighty rivers and exotic wildlife, which have attracted many tourists. Orissa comprises 4.74 per cent of India'slandmass and with 36.71 million people (2001 Census), comprises 3.57 per cent of her population. It is one of the richest states in terms of mineral resources. It also has a long coastline, which provides an abundant reservoir of aqua-culture resources.
The state has good road and rail connections with other parts of the country. The capital, Bhubaneswar, has regular flights with the major cities of India. Paradeep is a major port on the eastern coast. Smaller ports at Gopalpur and Dhamara are being developed into all-weather ports through the private sector.
Orissa'sadvantages are based on its large untapped mineral resources, abundant power at competitive tariffs, warm people, excellent climate, skilled labour, harmonious industrial environment and a government responsive to the process of industrialisation. Other plus points are well developed industrial infrastructure and eco-friendly surrounding. On top of it a pollution-free state with abundant natural beauty provides the best living condition.
The state already has strong industrial base of core sector industries, which include a large integrated steel plant, the largest aluminium smelter of the country, two fertilizer plants, an ordnance factory and a number of steel, sponge iron, ferro alloys, cement and paper plants. Rourkela Steel Plant, NALCO, Heavy Water Project at Talcher, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. at Sunabeda, Ordnance Factory at Bolangir, sand complex at Chhatrapur and Coach Repairing Workshop at Mancheswar are some of the public sector industries in the state covering varied strategic products. A number of large agro-based projects such as fruits and vegetable processing units and sugar projects have come up in the state.
Orissa is endowed with rich mineral resources. The state possesses 98.4 per cent of the chrome ore reserves of the country and the share in bauxite reserve is 59.5 per cent, iron ore 32.9 per cent, nickel ore 91.8 per cent, mineral sand 30.8 per cent, manganese ore 67.6 per cent and that of coal 24.8 per cent. The policy of liberalisation of the union government has drawn the global attention on Orissa'snatural resources. The mineral based industries like steel, ferro alloys, alumina and aluminium utilizing the resources are coming up even in less developed districts of the state like Kalahandi, Rayagada and Keonjhar. Other important mineral resources of the state are limestone, China clay, nickel ore, Vanadiferrous magnate and beach sands. There are also good prospects for precious and semi-precious stones and metals including diamonds and gold.
An investor-friendly industrial policy was announced in December 2001. In this policy the thrust is on time-bound support structure to act as a friend in need to each and every entrepreneur, who comes to Orissa.
As part of the commitments made in the Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR)-2001, the Government of Orissa has introduced a single-window industrial facilitation framework.
Sixty companies have already signed MoUs out of which 45 are for establishment of steel projects involving capacity of 75 MTPA with proposed investment of Rs 161000 crore, two companies for setting up alumina refinery with smelter with an investment of more than Rs. 25000 crore and three Independent Power Projects (IPPs) with an investment of Rs 18,132 crore with a capacity of 4270 MW power production. There is also the Refinery & Petrochemical Project being set up by Indian Oil Corporation with an investment of about Rs 25000 crore with production capacity of 12 MTPA. In this project IOC has already committed an investment of about Rs 1000 crore. Orissa has also been able to attract FDI and companies like Arcelor-Mittal, the largest steel producer of the world and POSCO, the Korean company which is another big player in the field of steel, which have signed MoUs for establishing steel plants of 12 MTPA each in the state.
Out of 45 steel companies, which have signed MoUs with the government, 14 companies with an investment of about Rs 10750 crore have completed the first phase and commenced partial commercial production. A PCPIR (petroleum, chemical & petrochemical investment region) is being planned at Paradeep, where IOC will be the anchor tenant.
The Export Promotion Industrial Park at Bhubaneswar, known as INFOCITY, has been established and commissioned to create high quality infrastructure facilities for setting up export-oriented industries, with a special emphasis on Information Technology-related industries.
At Duburi Industrial Complex in Jajpur district, IDCO has acquired about 20,000 acres of land for establishment of steel, power and other mineral-based industries. This complex enjoys all industrial infrastructure advantages like power, water supply, road, railway and port links.
The state government is also giving emphasis on promotion of infrastructure. A Project Development Fund (PDF) has been created at IDCO along with ILFS for infrastructural development.
Steps are being taken to develop and revive the SSI sector of Orissa and to promote ancillary and downstream industries in the metal as well as non-metal sectors. 19 clusters have already been notified for focused development such as Engineering Cluster at Cuttack & Bhubaneswar, Pharmaceutical Cluster at Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, Rice Cluster at Baragarh, Cashew Cluster at Ganjam, Kewda Cluster at Ganjam etc. Three industrial hubs have also been identified at Jajpur, Jharsuguda and Kalahandi areas for focused ancillary and downstream industrial development.
Moreover, steps are being taken to expand technical education for development of technical human resources base for the industries coming up in the state and the same is being integrated and synergized to augment employment opportunities in the state.
Providing safe drinking water to all habitations in the state is another priority sector for the government. Villages all over the state have been covered with tube-wells. We have 638844 tube-wells and 1082 pipe water supply projects.
Agriculture on which about 70 per cent of the people of Orissa depend for their living is given priority. Ours is an agricultural economy and while industrialising the state, agriculture and its development is being taken care off.
Though there is cry for distress sale in different parts of the country, Orissa has been able to provide support price to the farmers. All possible incentives are given to them for agricultural developments.
In spite of the Naxalite activities in about 10 districts of the state, the general law and order situation is under control. There is no major threat to the security of the people.
In the field of Mission Sakti, Orissa has made a very significant progress. At present we have 2 lakh self-help groups where women, specially housewives and girls in rural areas have come forward with confidence to run their organisation and to earn their living.
Land records have been computerised and land passbooks are being distributed among the land-holders. Pre-1980 forest habitations have been surveyed and government is going to declare them revenue villages. Poor homestead-less families are being provided with homestead land under Basundhara Yojana for construction of their own houses. Regulation 2 of 1956 has been amended and lands of the Vanvasis, which have been snatched away by influential people by exercise of fraud and coercion, are being restored to them by counts and stringent actions like imprisonment and fine are being awarded to the wrong-doers.
This coalition government of BJD and BJP in Orissa is ruling the state with all credibility and has been able to give a stable, effective and transparent government to the people.
(The author is leader, BJP Legislative Party in Orissa and Minister for Industry, Law and Rural Development, Government of Orissa.)