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Jamshedpur The Steel City of India

Jamshedpur was founded in the first decade of the twentieth century by the ‘father of Indian Industry’ Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata, the Indian pioneer industrialist who founded the Tata Group, India’s biggest conglomerate company. And yes, the same Parsi gentleman who built the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai after he was refused entry to one of the city’s grand hotels of the time, Watson’s Hotel, which had a strict whites-only policy.

It all began in 1900 when Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata roped in American geologist Charles Perin to build India’s first steel plant. After three years of meticulous search, surveyors settled upon Sakchi village located at the confluence of the Subarnarekha and Kharkai rivers. Along with easy access to water and scenic beauty, this area abounded in natural minerals like iron ore, coal, manganese, bauxite and lime. In 1907, TISCO (Tata Iron and Steel Company) was born. The township came up a year later. To build the city, people were required. They poured in from across the country and outside. From faraway states of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat… and from neighbouring countries. From English and German engineers to American pastors. All were welcomed with open arms. The new township soon acquired a vibrant cosmopolitan nature and became a hot pot of many cultures. The Tatanagar Railway Station built in 1910 on the Howrah-Mumbai route, soon became the city’s lifeline.

The city contributed steel rails to the World War I. In 1919, the then Viceroy of British India, Lord Chelmsford, named the steel city Jamshedpur in honour of its founder. Again during World War II, the city contributed to the war effort. One of the city’s famous landmarks, the Boulevard Hotel, was set up in 1940 to lodge Allied troops. The city also faced the catastrophic Partition of India in 1947, one of the greatest forced migrations in human history. Uprooted from their native land which fell into Pakistani hands, displaced Punjabis made the city their new home.

Jamshedpur became a magnet for dreamers and achievers. The city sheltered runaways who later went on become rags-to-riches success stories. Many were related to food. This is how Jamshedpur has acquired an amazing cultural diversity. Besides fancy restaurants, the city has good street food. There are food icons which have served generations of locals and yet their popularity has not diminished. These include Fakira’s chanachur, Bhatia’s milk shakes, Bauwaji’s chai, Tambi’s dosas, Hari’s golgappas, Lakhi’s egg rolls, Ramesh’s kulfi and Kewat’s litti. Steel city, green city, clean city and the young generation’s “jampot”…that’s Jamshedpur.

Jamshedpur is also the city where my parents first met somewhere in 1962. My dad was employed in TELCO – Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (now Tata Motors), and my mom used to teach doll-making to Adivasi women in Ranchi. They lived in Jamshedpur for almost a year after marriage before returning to their home city, Mumbai. That was in 1962-63.

Chhattisgarh The power hub of India

The fledgling State of Chhattisgarh is fast emerging as the `power house’ of the country with energy starved States rushing to its coal pitheads to set up thermal power stations.

Having a surplus of power, Chhattisgarh is inviting other states to set up units here and the latest entrant is the National Thermal Power Corp
oration (NTPC) which has planned a super thermal plant of 2000 MW to cater to the States of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. This is in addition to the super thermal plants of 2640 MW in Sipat and 600 MW in Korba.

Talking to a group of visiting newsmen from Bangalore, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi said the State had already signed up with Gujarat to set up a 500 MW joint venture unit. A similar proposal had also come from Karnataka. However, a team from Karnataka would visit the State and inspect various coal pitheads in Korba, Raigarh and other regions before deciding on a suitable site for the project, State Secretary for Power Sanjay Singh said.

Chhattisgarh has a potential capacity of 50,000 MW of power given its rich coal resources. Along with Bihar and Orissa, Chhattisgarh accounts for nearly 84 per cent of the coal reserves in the country.

Mr. Jogi said the focus was on providing cheap pithead power, adding that the State had already signed up MoUs to tap about 7000 MW.

The States willing to set up power units in Chhattisgarh would be offered the option of setting it up as a joint venture or pay wheeling charges to Chhattisgarh, he said.

With an installed capacity of 1360 MW and an average demand of 1200 MW, Chhattisgarh was already a power surplus State. However the demand was bound to pick up in the coming months in view of the huge infrastructure projects being planned to tap the rich mineral ore base in the State. It was estimated that the maximum demand would be around 2120 MW by 2011, he added.

Mr. Jogi said the State was also making vigorous attempts with the Centre to complete the Bodhghat Hydel Project on the River Indravati. The 200 MW project has been held up with the Central Government as it involved deforestation of about 5702 hectares of forestland in the Bastar region in Dhantewada district.

The State Government had not taken up the power reform process and had no immediate plans to unbundle the power sector like in other States such as Orissa and Karnataka. Mr. Sanjay Singh said the State did not feel the necessity for such reforms as the present structure provided for efficient functioning of the sector.

The Asian Development Bank and the Canadian Industrial Development Agency (CIDA) have come up with proposals to improve the efficiency of the transmission and distribution system in the State. The T&D losses which were as high as 40 per cent at the time of the formation of the State in November 2000 had now come down to 32 per cent with infusion of over Rs. 500 crores with new transmission and distribution lines. The State has also been sanctioned Rs. 400 crores under the Accelerated Power Development Assistance of the Central Government.

Keen to develop nearly 250 MW of small and medium hydro power projects, the Government has tied up with the Indian Institute of Technology, Rourkee to effectively tap 250 sites.

Mr. Singh said, the state was also keen to ensure that tribal villages deep inside the forests and having no source of electricity were powered by solar Photovoltaic units and a Rs. 225 crore project had been sent to the Union government for powering more than 1000 remote and tribal villages. As a first step 90 villages of Usoor and Bhopalpatnam in Bastar would be taken up