The strict regulations by government has left a profound effect on socio-economy of Odisha.
Steel 360 on its expedition to Odisha gathered view points from many industrial experts on various aspects. Here we mention views by a representative of the management, from one of the biggest mines in India, as the identity goes about describing the effect of government regulations in socio-economic scenario of Odisha.
The socio-economy of Odisha was mostly dependent on agriculture as a primary income source initially. Over the time as Iron ore sources were discovered, there was an economic shift. People engaged themselves more into mining activity, and why not? It had less effort and more money. In addition, INR 2 per kg rice has left no incentive for labor class to work anymore for something like agriculture. Now that the majority of the population earns out of mining activity, government’s strict regulations has put a ban on it.
During Shah Commission survey, people of the state made a representation about catastrophic repercussions of stopping mining activities as it’s the only source for their bread and butter. Also, the ores lying in the mines if not transported, will create many problems. Restriction on transportation of these ores as per the government’s decision is somehow hurting people’s sentiments. In India, there’s no consumption of Iron ore. Particularly, in Odisha there are a few pellet plants that consume Iron ore, so the remaining has to be exported. Maybe in due course of time with upcoming pellet plants, domestic consumption of Iron ore fine may increase, but it will take some time. If it was possible to excavate only lumps then the things would’ve been different. But this is just not possible as fines and lumps go together at the time of excavation.
Shah Commission while surveying Odisha raised a point that the people do not have jobs and they are not getting what they deserve. But this cannot be blamed on miners. The fact is government has not done anything here and whatever is done so far is all due to donations and other funds. Miners on the other hand, are trying to do something, in the form of small CSR initiatives, but that is not enough. “Very basic facilities like roads, hospitals and education are not adequate here. There are medical hospital buildings but with no doctors as nobody wants to stay here. Everybody wants to stay in the city where they can develop themselves. Small towns aside, even in the cities like Bhubaneswar, education is not as good as compare to other Class A cities in India say for example Indore, Nagpur or Raipur. For education, most of the people living here have to send their children to some good universities outside the state after High School or Higher Secondary Schools. There are no competitive colleges in Odisha that can set a bar to other colleges in India. The quality of education in the existing college is not up to the mark. It’s amusing to know that those who live here believe that they have got job because they belong to this place and so, they don’t work really hard. But when they go out to other states they work really very hard.”
PS: As seen and felt, during our expedition in Odisha we learned that the state has a long way to go. There have been developments and initiatives by the government which cannot be neglected. But perhaps, as a proud owner of rich natural resources, Odisha needs to create harder benchmarks to meet its people’s expectations.