Make in India’ programme which was started about four years back by the India government, has motivated some of the states in the country to start industrialization programme in their respective states. In this regard, very promptly the government of Odisha organized the First ‘Make in Odisha’ Conclave in Novermner 2016 and the Second one in November 2018 both at Bhubaneswar. The leading investors have expressed their willingness to invest in various industries based on the raw material resources both in first and second Odisha Conclaves, worth about 2 and 4.19 lakh crores of rupees respectively. The second one which took place recently in a grand manner gave a greater hope to place Odisha as its rightful place in the industrial map of India.
The State of Odisha is very rich in various mineral resources along with its vast areas of fertile agricultural land, dense forest, about 480 km of coastal line having three important ports like Paradeep, Dhamara and Gopalpur and a large number of water bodies including 14 major rivers and the Chilika, the biggest lake of the country. Odisha is considered to be the store house of various precious minerals of India. The state has got about 27% coal, 26% iron ore, 65% bauxite, 32% manganese ore, 98% chromite, 95% nickel and cobalt ore, 21% of ilmentite and 77% graphite out of the total reserves of the respective minerals in the country along with small deposits of many other nonferrous and refractory minerals. All these resources can be suitably utilized to set up large number of mineral based industries for producing huge quantities of different metals, alloys and energy to meet the growing needs of the country, along with large number of small and medium scale industries based on various agricultural, forest and marine resources. In addition to producing large amounts of energy from coal based thermal power plants, the rivers of Odisha have the potentiality to posses a large number of small dams and barrages to supply sufficient water and hydro power to the proposed and existing industries.
In order to establish successfully the mineral, agricultural, forest and marine based industries along with the ancillary ones, it is essential for the government of Odisha to provide various infrastructural and service facilities like land, water, energy, communication systems, skilled manpower, market etc. At the same time, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes for rehabilitating the displaced families, undertaking the welfare activities for the workers in the proposed industries and also taking care of the environment of the industrial areas, have to be planned and executed properly. These should help in commissioning the industries in time. In the past, because of the delay in providing various infrastructural and service facilities, many new industries not only have been delayed but have been scrapped and also some existing ones have suffered a great deal.
The dearth of raw materials like iron and coal has forced many of the existing sponge iron industries to close down or work with much below their capacity. Similarly, due to the scarecity of bauxite, in the past, the Vedanta Aluminium plant at Lanjigarh in the district of Kalahandi, has been almost closed down for a long period. The proposed steel plant by Mital and Posco have been scrapped because of the non availability of various infrastructural facilities including land, raw materials etc. Some of the existing industries because of the non availability of the required amount of water and energy have not only suffered but bitter atmosphere has been created between industries and local people.
All these past experience indicate that, inspite of the availability of best technology, finance and natural resources, because of inadequate infrastructure and services, wrong planning and inefficient management system including lack of coordination amongst various government departments, many industrial projects have not materialized in the state. Therefore, the planning of industrial projects in various sectors should be done very carefully, keeping in view the availability of the required raw materials, land for setting of the industries, various infrastructural facilities including water and energy, protection of environment and availability of required skilled man power.
As most of the existing and new industries require a lot of water and clean energy, it would be wise to set up small dams and barrages both in the upper and lower parts of all the 14 major rivers flowing in the state (out of these 11 rivers have originated in the state). This would provide not only sufficient amount of water for the industries as well as for agricultural and domestic purposes, but also required clean hydro power. Odisha with its favorable geographical location with about 300 sunny days in a year, long coastal line and various hilly regions, has the potential for producing a large amount of renewable energy resources from sun and wind. Similarly, utilizing the forest and agricultural wastes, the state can produce a large amount of biogas and manure for agriculture and agro industries. The agro industries and renewable energy production units need comparatively very little investment. These should be developed mostly in rural areas by giving a lot of employment opportunities. Ancillary and downstream units of the major industries should be developed on priority basis to generate some more employment opportunities for skilled and semiskilled youths of the state.
Soon after the first ‘Make in Odisha’ conclave in November 2016, I suggested through media in an article to prioritise industrialization based on the important resources of Odisha. Recently, the second ‘Make in Odisha’ Conclave has been celebrated in a big way. The investors have expressed their willingness to set up industries in various sectors worth about 4.19 lakhs crores of rupees. Keeping in view the vast natural resources available in the state, the state authorities should now work vigorously to creat and extend various infrastructural and service facilities to encourage the investors in setting up the proposed industries. This will go a long way to enrich the state through proper utilization of its resources and providing a better socio economic life to the people of Odisha.