In 1957, India’s first prime minister Pandit Javaharlal Nehru inaugurated world’s largest earth Dam, Hirakud Dam at Sambalpur and with this an industrial revolution started in Orissa, particularly in Western Orissa. Orient paper mill started its operation in BrajarajNagar and Steel authority of India established in Rourkela. Now the 180 KM stretch between Rourkela to Sambalpur is considered industrially, a highly developed corridor.
In the last decade Orissa govt’s industrial development policy has favoured many metal based and power sector industries and the process of industrialization has speed up considerably in this region.
With the rapid metal based industrialization happening around Sambalpur – Jharsuguda, massive changes can be seen in demography and geography of these two neighboring cities in Western Orissa. People are migrating from different parts of the county to these urban localities, especially to Jharsuguda everyday. This rapid growth in population has started showing both positive as well as negative impact on livelihood, business, and environment of the region.
When you can feel the rise in pollution level and environmental temperature, at the same time you can find many shopping joints, malls, residential complexes, etc coming up in these two adjoining dusty cities of Western Orissa. House rents have gone rocket high in Jharsuguda due to the lack of adequate infrastructure. Migrating population are suffering by paying hefty amounts like in metros, for not so good houses but the locals are earning big bucks. Also, this has created annoyed situation for other low income local people in the town who are staying in rented accommodation.
Many new business hotels have come up around Jharsuguda to meet the rapid demand. Many small snacks stalls and restaurants have started mushrooming around Jharsuguda which are earning significantly from the industrial workers.
Sambalpur and Jharsuguda are 48 Km apart and connected with S.H.10, one of the finest road in the country which is being planned to upgrade into a 4 lanes highway with an estimated budget of 1270 Cr. Some portion of this highway will be 6 lanes too.
As per 2001 census, Sambalpur had a population of 226, 469 where as the collective population of industrial towns of Brajaraj Nagar (76, 959), Jharsuguda (76, 100), Belpahar (32, 826) was 185, 885.
Sambalpur is the nerve center of Western Orissa. It is the cultural and political hub of the region. Before British took over this region in 1803 it was serving as the capital of Hirakhand kingdom for around 300 years, which was stretched over an area from Nuapada (Orissa) in south to Surguja (CG) in north and Champa – Shakti (CG) in west to Baud (Orissa) in east. Since 1948, it is the divisional headquarter of Northern revenue division of Orissa, comprising 10 revenue districts such as Angul, Balangir, Bargarh, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, and Sundargarh.
The industrial development in the stretch between Sambalpur and Jharsuguda has boosted the economy and business scenario in Sambalpur too. Many residential housing and commercial projects offering modern amenities have come up in the city and are helping in shaping up the landscape in organized manner.
Earlier there were few shops where you could get branded cloths but now many small and big retails have come up in the city, selling branded fabrics to meet the demand. Kolkata based retail chain Bazar Kolkata has already put its shop here and Biyani group promoted retail brand Big Bazar is opening shortly. Reliance too, has planned to open its retail chain Reliance Fresh in the city.
For moviegoers in Sambalpur there is good news too as Eyelex Multiplex has planned to start its three screen multiplex from March 2011.
The number of car showrooms of various brands has grown up. After the state capital Bhubaneswar, Car manufacturing companies are opening company showroom in Sambalpur giving priorities to it over Rourkela and Berhampur.
Recently the state govt has given proposal to run city bus service in Sambalpur alongwith Rourkela, Cuttack and Berhampur. It has already offered the service in Bhubaneswar and Puri. A 2000 acre satellite city proposed by the Sambalpur Development Authority (SDA) has been approved by the state Govt, planned between Sambalpurand Jharsuguda.
Jharsuguda was part of Sambalpur district until 1993. The present district head quarter of Jharsuguda is an important commercial center for adjoining areas of Sundargarh and Rayagarh districts. Jharsuguda is a railway junction on Howrah –Mumbai line. It has regular train services to Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Tata, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Raipur, Nagpur, Amritsar, Jaipur, Bhopal, Allahabad, etc.