A model town

Print edition : July 04, 2008

The statue of J.N. Tata at Jubilee Park, Jamshedpur, which is maintained by Tata Steel.-ARUNANGSU ROY CHOWDHURY

Jamshedpur is today considered a model of harmonious coexistence of industry and the environment.

ATTENDING the golden jubilee celebrations of Tata Steel at Jamshedpur in 1958, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said, In the ultimate analysis, I imagine that parks and trees are more important than iron and steel. Flowers, parks and trees supply something which is, I imagine, of more basic importance to human beings and the human spirit than even iron and steel.

Nehrus words are a succinct reflection of the founder Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tatas vision of not just an iron and steel company, but also a verdant, prosperous and happy township growing around it.In a letter to his son Sir Dorab Tata in 1902, Jamsetji wrote: Be sure to lay wide streets with shady trees. Be sure that there is plenty of space for lawns and gardens. Reserve large areas for football, hockey and parks. Earmark areas for Hindu temples, Mohameddan mosques and Christian churches.

Jamshedpur is everything that Jamsetji envisioned it to be. The first planned modern city of India has the distinction of being the only city in South-East Asia to have been selected by the United Nations to participate in the Global Compact Cities Pilot Programme.

When Jamsetji envisaged his Steel City, even explorations for the iron and steel project site had not properly begun. In 1907, when Sakchi was chosen as the project site, the Tatas had the Herculean task of building both the plant and the city at a time when technical personnel, proper infrastructure and machinery were unavailable in the country.

In fact, clearance work was done with bullock carts as the main vehicles of transport. Moreover, the land was infertile, proving to be a meagre source of livelihood for impoverished tribal inhabitants. It was also unsafe and one could be waylaid by thieves.

The first task was to construct homes for the large number of people who would be employed in the iron and steel plant. Within a few years, there cropped up neat rows of brick houses on the sides of wide streets, and a pump house that could supply a million gallons of water a day. The first school came up in 1915, and itinerant vegetable and meat vendors were allotted shops in a new market place.

Over the years, both the plant and the city grew together. Jamshedpur has emerged as a model of harmonious coexistence of industry and the environment, with acres of lush green parks Jubilee Park, Sir Dorabji Tata Park and gardens, providing bucolic relief for people from the pressures of everyday life. There are 17 small and large parks in Jamshedpur. There are primary schools, colleges, the Tata Main Hospital and specialised institutions such as Shavak Nanavati Technical Institute, R.D. Tata Technical Education Centre, National Institute of Technology and Xavier Labour Relations Institute.

The city also provides plenty of opportunities for the culturally inclined. There are numerous auditoriums that play host to the finest performing artistes from India and abroad. The Jamshedpur School of Art teaches painting and sculpture.

The Centre for Excellence has an 80-seat auditorium, which is renowned for its excellent acoustics. Jamshedpur is indeed a city created out of a genuine concern for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of its inhabitants.

Jamshedpur is the only city in the country where civic amenities and allied services are entirely looked after by a corporate entity the Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company Limited (JUSCO). The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Steel, was incorporated in August 2003.

With its formal launch on April 1, 2004, the entire onus of providing civic amenities in Jamshedpur was transferred on to this fledgling organisation from the main company. Today, more than 7 lakh people, including around 20,000 Tata Steel employees and their families, reside in the command area of Jamshedpur and avail themselves of the facilities provided by JUSCO.

Before the formation of JUSCO, it was the Town Division of Tata Steel that provided services to Jamshedpur. Now in its fourth year of operation, JUSCO has emerged as a comprehensive infrastructure development and management solutions provider, which has a presence in Gwalior, Bhopal, Kolkata, Haldia and Muzaffarpur, with Jamshedpur as its base.

The Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur, set up in 1908 by the company, is one of the finest hospitals in the country.-SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH

Among the services provided by the company are water and waste-water management, planning, engineering and construction services, public health services, power distribution, municipal solid waste management, horticulture services, and hospitality services. Apart from these, JUSCO also maintains 524 km of roads, 487 km of sewer lines and 490 km of water mains.

The company has also set up a 24x7 single-window contact point called JUSCO Sahayog Kendra for keeping track of customer complaints. This has significantly improved management of customer complaints, as evident from the latest Customer Satisfaction and Quality of Life surveys conducted by ACNielsen ORG-MARG.

The consortium of JUSCO and Gammon Infrastructure Private Ltd successfully bid for the development and subsequent operation and maintenance of an auto ancillary Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Adityapur, about 8 km from the Steel City. The project will be spread over an area of 90 acres, with a lease tenure of 90 years.

A special purpose vehicle named SEZ Adityapur Ltd has been formed along with the Adityapur Industrial Area Development Authority to execute the project.

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