ROURKELA: The demand for abolition of the Industrial Township Act, 1994, is picking up steam in Rourkela following an acute scarcity of water in the industrial township under the territorial jurisdiction of SAIL’s Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) and pathetic living condition of slum dwellers.
The RSP management has come under attack from all quarters and the debate to bring the township under jurisdiction of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) is being renewed.
The Industrial Township Act, 1994 had come into effect from April 15, 1995, with the Government handing over special power to RSP to manage the township. An agreement is in place that mandates the RSP to extend all civic amenities to township residents including slum dwellers. However, 21 years after, RSP continues to ignore 194 slum pockets that have a population of one lakh.
During a high-level meeting on Wednesday, Chief Secretary AP Padhi discussed various issues of the industrial township with Sundargarh Collector, Bhupendra Singh Poonia. The Collector informed that RSP was instructed to extend all basic amenities to slum dwellers, free about 2,000 acres from encroachment and return surplus land to Government. In another development, Rourkela MLA of BJP Dilip Ray met Union Steel & Mines Minister, NS Tomar and highlighted the prevailing water crisis in the township. He said the core activity of the RSP is to manufacture steel and management of township should be handed over to the RMC as the Rourkela city has been nominated as Smart City.
The industrial township - spread over 19 sectors - has 24,500 staff quarters, 5,675 shops, 350-km-long paved road network, 500-km of water supply lines and 1,812-km of power transmission lines. The township’s population is 2.16 lakhs. Apparently, the territorial jurisdiction of RSP is a major hindrance in preparation of integrated development plan under the Smart City scheme.
Rourkela Development Authority (RDA) Chairman, Sarada Prasad Nayak reiterated that presence of two townships and as many jurisdictions are the stumbling blocks for city’s growth. He said RSP has been ‘deliberately’ ignoring basic amenities and infrastructure needs of slum dwellers.
He said if the township gets abolished, it would be a boost in creation of a Greater Rourkela.