By Prof P. K. Jena* in Bhubaneswar, December 20, 2017: Kalinga Nagar with rich mineral resource base boasts of a number of iron and steel and allied industries and some more are in pipeline. Situated in Sukinda Block of Jajpur district in Odisha, Kalinga Nagar is being planned to be the biggest iron and steel industrial center of India.

With an area of 177 Sq. Km, Kalinga Nagar already has a number of iron and steel industries by Tata, Jindal, Visa, Mesco, Neelachal etc. Many ancillary industries are also coming up. During the initial period of industrialization, some social and political unrest occurred due to displacement of thousands of families and delay in their proper rehabilitation and also in ensuring the required employment opportunities.

However, due to efforts made by the concerned industries as well as government agencies, these problems were solved to a great extent. Since then, the industrialization of Kalinga Nagar is progressing fast with the development of required infrastructures and with this the population in the area is also growing fast.

By 2025, Kalinga Nagar is likely to surpass the population of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha to more than ten lakhs. The industrial hub of Odisha not only be will produce a huge quantities of iron and steel and their value added products but also can provide different types of jobs and training programmes to a large number of people.

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Tata Steel Plant at Kalinganagar

owever, due to slackness of the industries as well as the local authorities, the environment of Kalinga Nagar is getting polluted at a very fast rate and most of the people particularly those in low income group are leading a very unhealthy life. At the same time, there is an acute shortage of clean water and proper health care. Due to improper management of wastes and unhygienic sewage system along with discharge of untreated wastes of the industries, the land and water bodies in and around this industrial center are getting polluted.

Consequently, not only the people of this place but also those families living around it are also being affected by polluted environment. In view of this, before it is too, late the authorities should take necessary steps for improving the environment of Kalinga Nagar so that people living in the area can enjoy the fruits of industrialization in a healthy environment. In this regard, the following few suggestions may be taken into consideration by the government and the industries for their implementation.

In the recent past, Brahmani River and its tributaries were meeting the needs of the required amounts of water for agriculture and domestic purposes of the people living in the area. Now, the industries and the workers and their families at Kalinga Nagar are using quite a large amount of this water. As a result, there is already a conflict between the local people and the industries for sharing their respective requirements of water. In view of this, the industries should develop new water bodies in nearby suitable low lying areas and harvest rain water in these to meet a part of their water requirements.

At the same time, the government should build a number of small dams and barrages at suitable sites in the river Brahmani and its tributaries to meet the increasing water requirements of all concerned. By undertaking such water management programmes in the area in a scientific manner and with their proper implementation, it will be possible to meet the water needs of industrial, domestic and agricultural sectors. In the dams, the hydro electricity produced can be supplied to the grid in the area.

In Kalinga Nagar industrial as well as in colony areas, a large amount of wastes are being generated. These wastes have to be systematically collected by the local municipal authorities inculcating the habit amongst the people living there to store organic wastes and other wastes in separate disposable bags.

The organic wastes thus collected and the city sewage should be then processed at suitable locations to produce manure and biogas instead of letting out these to the water bodies and land mass in the area. One ton of dry organic wastes can produce 800 cubic meter biogas and 400 kg of high quality manure. This will be a source of earning of the corporation. Further, the metal, plastic and other wastes collected separately can be sold to their respective industries for recycling.

The industries should take various measures to treat flue gases and fine particles before releasing to the atmosphere after so that the air in the region is least polluted. In addition to this, the transport system inside Kalinga Nagar should run mostly by electrical energy rather than fossil fuels and there should be more public electric buses and local electric trains.

At the same time, people living in the area should be motivated to use clean solar energy for meeting their energy requirements in the houses for cooking and lighting. The hydro electricity produced in the proposed small dams on the rivers can be utilized for the purpose. In this way the atmosphere of Kalinga Nagar should be kept free from polluting gases and fine particles of carbon.

The slums which are common in India around the industrial and urban areas create a lot of unhealthy socio economic problems. Therefore, enough care should be taken to avoid slums in the area by providing proper accommodations and other facilities to the daily wage workers, so that a clean environment and healthy social life can prevail in and around the Kalinga Nagar.

Before Kalinga Nagar came into existence, the area was full of green trees and forests and now most of these have gone. It is therefore essential to create social forests in the available open spaces, the road sides and around the industries and water bodies by planting economic trees to make the area less dusty and environment friendly.

It is essential for the industries and administrative authorities in Kalinga Nagar to associate the families of the employees as well as the people living in and around the area in various socio economic developmental programmes and also in keeping their environment clean. In addition to this, through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme they should implement various social activities and the awareness programmes for all sections of people including the college and school students. The programmes for empowerment of women should be given high priority.

It is suggested that, before it is too late, the government and the concerned industries along with the people living in and around Kalinga Nagar, should implement the above programmes to make it an environment friendly industrial hub in the country.

•(Former Director General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research)