October 13, 2009


Filed under: Economics,Industry,Jharkhand — loggers @ 12:09 am

Jamshedpur, named after the scion of the Tata family Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, is the township created around their flagship TATA Steel factory in Jharkhand. Established in the early part of the 20th century after clearing out dense forest, this location provided easy access to the abundant iron ore deposits present in the nearby districts. The city is well endowed with a large public park, sprawling accommodations for its employees, a zoo and even an amusement park. Conversations with employees/affiliates reinforced our belief that the TATA management has taken great care in providing for its employees. Today, ~80% of the city’s population is connected to the steel works plant.

Our first stop in the city was the Russi Mody Center for Excellence. This serves as a center where professional institutions[i] from various business fields have their regional offices. The center has exhibition halls dedicated to J.N. and J.R.D Tata’s achievements, the former providing the foreground for India’s industrialization process. In addition, it also houses corporate India’s first business archives, right from the company registration documents in 1904. Designed by the well known architect Hafeez Contractor, this complex is supposed to be an elegant blend of international edifices such as the Colosseum and Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with a rare and enviable collection of paintings by M.F. Husain.

Registration document for TATA Steel

Registration document for TATA Steel

M.F. Husain's painting

M.F. Husain's painting

Next, we were given a brief tour of the steel plant, which covers an area of 24 square km and provides the city its skyline. Currently producing 6.5m tons of steel per annum, the plant employs a total of ~45,000[ii] employees. The environment lends itself as a city buzzing in activity with bikers, cyclists and cars moving from one part of the plant to the other. It also has its own locomotive tracks to transport slag and other materials. We observed three different parts of the process: a) Washing the iron ore and smelting it into slag b) hot pressing the slag and turning it into a coil and c) galvanizing and cold rolling, where elements such as zinc are added to prevent rusting. Among the many uses that steel produced in this factory has seen range from the Howrah bridge in Calcutta to that used in the construction of facilities for the Beijing Olympics. The plant was no doubt an exceptional industrial achievement and with the history that comes with it, makes for something we should be proud of.

Tribes form an important part of the Jharkhand economy, and it is predominantly in their surroundings that the abundant natural resources of the state are found. Even today, industrialists grapple with the government over land acquisition and rights of tribal populations. The TATA group has been doing its part in helping the tribal economy to develop and integrate with mainstream society. The Tribal Cultural Center was set up with this purpose in mind, and to help spread awareness of their way of life. Very professionally designed and informative, this is definitely a stop on the itinerary of visitors of the plant.

Tribal Cultural Centre

Tribal Cultural Centre

Recreation of tribal hut

Re-creation of tribal hut

Another aspect of TATA’s social action plan includes the Community Development Center, addressing social issues in urban areas. We met with Mr. Ranjit Bhattacharya, head of the center and a national level powerlifter (and self-proclaimed actor, director and songwriter). Among the activities conducted include vocational courses, skills development (e.g. computers) and socially relevant training. Himself a sportsman, he also places a large emphasis on sports such as volleyball, football, cricket, weightlifting and basketball. Apparently MS Dhoni[iii] has also used Jamshedpur’s extensive sports facilities for his training, which are considered second only to Calcutta in the East. Our conversation slowly drifted to the killing of other sports by cricket, to a torrent on Alok for not speaking Hindi to jokes on marriage (sprinkled with mimics of Japanese shop owners and Shammi Kapoor impersonations, and other highlights not suitable for this blog). One of the most colourful personalities on our travels so far, it is in search of people like him that we are exploring the country.

[i] E.g. Institute of Chartered Accountants, Indian Institute of Industrial Technology


[ii] This is down from 70,000 a few years back, mainly due to automated technologies

[iii] This anecdote had a clear tone of distaste to it, as Mr. Bhattacharya said “he (Dhoni) has forgotten his roots. You boys, on the other hand, should never forget your roots”



  1. “Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”

    Comment by Amar Sheth — October 13, 2009 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  2. yes TATA is great but what about Jamshedpur of Jharkhand .

    Comment by JUGNU SHARDEYA — October 13, 2009 @ 7:43 am | Reply

  3. Did you tell Mr. Bhattacharya that Alok is a Japanese wrestler?

    Comment by Yash — October 14, 2009 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

  4. thx for this..

    Comment by tarun — December 2, 2009 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

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