Rourkela pronunciation (help·info) is a planned city located in the northern part of Odisha, India. It is the third-largest Urban Agglomeration in Odisha. It is situated about 328 kilometres (204 mi) west of state capital Bhubaneswar and is surrounded by a range of hills and encircled by the rivers Koel, Sankha, & Brahmani. The city is also popularly known as Ispat Nagar and Steel City of Odisha as well. One of the largest integrated steel plant set up with German collaboration Known as Rourkela Steel Plant, of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). It also has one of the premier national level technical institute known as National Institutes of Technology (NIT Rourkela). Every year, on 3 March Rourkela Day has been celebrated.
The city has been selected as smart city in the third phase of the National Smart Cities Mission on 20 September 2016, which is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development. Rourkela has been declared India’s Fastest Moving City (East Zone 2–10 Lakh). Raurkela is third largest city of Odisha state & categorised as a Tier-2 city.
The name Rourkela originates from the local language of Sadri which means “Your Village” (Rour = Your & Kela comes from the word “Kila” which means Village). It comes under Sundergarh district of the Indian state of Odisha.
The twin towns of Rourkela and Fertilizer Township, as well as their developed periphery, are located in areas that were once covered by dense forests. These forests were once a favourite hunting ground for the kings in the past. According to the census report of 2011, Rourkela has a population of 483,038 (Rourkela Industrial Township is 273,217 and Rourkela Town is 210,412) and the urban metropolitan area population is 536,450.Then railway station of Rourkela was within the revenue village of Mahulpali.
India’s first public sector steel plant facility was established in Rourkela with the help of German businesses Krupp and Demag. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the town was the largest German colony outside Germany.
There was a village called Durgapur in between Rourkela and Panposh stations. The construction of the sub-divisional court building was started in 1945 at the village Durgapur. Hence the nearby hills were also known as Durgapur Pahada (Durgapur Hills), today it is known as Uditnagar. As a result, the two railway stations of Panposh and Rourkela came into recognition.
Following India’s independence, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, wanted to make India an industrialized state in Soviet model of social development; giving wings to his dreams, Sri Biju Pattanaik convinced Pandit Nehru to consider the location of Rourkela for setting up a steel plant. The mineral-rich zone of Rourkela intersected by the rivers Brahmani, Koel and Sankha from two sides was aptly chosen for the same.
The preliminary survey for the steel plant at Rourkela was started in 1952 and the Government of Odisha issued a gazette notification on 16 February 1954. In accordance with the notification, the Government of Odisha acquired an area of about 80 square miles around Rourkela for the purpose of Steel Plant. The German private companies Krupp and Demag came forward to provide financial and technical help for the proposed steel plant at Rourkela. Krupp built Rourkela Steel Plant drawing from experience from its own works in Essen, Germany. The technical experts of the company advised the Government of India as well as the Government of Odisha for acquiring more land. As a result, a further area of 32 square kilometres was acquired out of 31 revenue villages. Almost 13,000 people in 2,424 families lost their dwelling. Later further 11,000 acres (4,500 ha) of land were acquired out of 31 revenue villages for the construction of Mandira Dam, a water embankment. Moreland was requisitioned for the purpose of constructing railway lines to Hatia and Barsuan. The construction of the Bondamunda Railway junction required the further acquisition of land which resulted in 20,000 people’s displacement from their habitat. Though there was initial discontentment among the tribals about the land acquisition the authority largely resolved the land dispute, as many of the tribals were provided employment and accommodation. The displaced tribals were relocated to places such as Jalda, Jhirpani, Bisra, and Bondamunda. Their new settlement even extended beyond the river Koel.
Thousands of technical personnel from West Germany came to Rourkela to extend their technical assistance. Some of these Germans came with their family and their small diaspora created the ‘Indo-German Club’ to socialise. The club exists today with a well-stocked library known as Max Muller library. There are a plethora of local stories of Germans social encounters with tribals (local Adivasis) and people from other parts of India who had relocated themselves to Rourkela for employment. A large part of this population was from coastal and western Odisha who were trained by the German workforce to adapt to the steel plant’s technology rigour. The steel plant, which was hugely surrounded by forest, many times witnessed wild animals straying into the plant area. A royal Bengal tiger’s lugubrious death in the steel plant’s massive blast furnace is a part of the city’s folklore. There were also tales about the disappearance of Germans in the nearby Vedvyas cave and the dread whirlpool of river Koel. The river still accounts for human casualty as some day-trippers wade into the water unaware of the maelstrom.
The Rourkela city is divided into two separate townships under the Census of India as Steel Township and Civil Township. The Residential quarter’s colony of Rourkela Steel Plant having eighteen sectors on record is called Steel Township and the other part is called Civil Township. One smaller township Fertiliser was renamed sector-22, as this township is within the purview of SAIL.
Steel Township is a modern industrial habitation mostly residential quarters, characterised by extensive green coverage under the Steel Plant Administration. A number of artistically crafted monuments not only add significant grace to the landscape of the township but also showcase the innovative usage of steel for creating objects of art.
The 16 km long Ring Road, connects eighteen sectors and some major parts of the steel city including Chhend Colony, Civil Township, Udit Nagar, Basanti Nagar, Koel Nagar, Jagda, Jhirpani, Panposh, Fertiliser Township, Hamirpur, and Vedvyas.
As of 2011 India census, Rourkela Metropolitan Area had a population of 536,450. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Rourkela has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5% male literacy is 81%, and female literacy is 69%. In Rourkela, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Density of Population – 6,696 per km2. approx.
Sex Ratio – 835 Female per 1000 male.
Per capita income – Highest in Odisha.
Population (Census 2011) – 552,970 where as Rourkela Industrial Township (210,412) & Rourkela Town (273,217).
Main Habitations in Rourkela – Civil Township, Koelnagar, Chhend Colony, Uditnagar, Steel Township (Eighteen Sectors), Fertiliser Township, Industrial Estate, Basanti colony, Railway colony, Jhirpani, Jagda, Panposh, Vedavyas, Bondamunda, Bisra and Kalunga.
Towards the end of 1946, most of the existing roads of the Sundargarh District were constructed. One National Highway i.e. (NH-143) passes through Rourkela which runs from Chas-Ranchi-Rourkela-Barkote-Banarpal – Junction with (NH-55). About 30 km of this highway passes through in and around Rourkela. Though the finalization of the project is awaited the planning for four linings of this highway is under consideration. One more National Highway i.e. NH – 215 which runs from Rajamunda (in Sundergarh district) to Panikoili in Jajpur district.
Other than this the SH-10 which runs from Rourkela to Sambalpur is another good road used in a large way particularly after its renovation and up gradation in 1995. This highway has recently been upgraded to a four-lane highway under the Biju Expressway project. There are a number of other departmental roads in and around Rourkela stretched in different parts.
From a civic point of view, the Steel City consists of two parts i.e. Steel Township and Civil Township. While the ring road constructed by Rourkela Steel Plant Authority which has surrounded the Steel Township the other part of the ring road is Civil Township. The Steel Township roads are also maintained by the RSP authority. There are a number of daily Bus Services from Rourkela to different parts of Orissa and also, a few, to neighboring states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. There are a number of city buses plying daily on different routes in the city. The new Bus Terminus at Uditnagar, Rourkela constructed by Rourkela Development Authority caters to various demands of Bus services to different parts of the states. Other than the New Bus stand, there are a number of ticket booking counters in different parts of the city for the public to book tickets for various destinations. In 2014, Government of Odisha decided to build Biju Expressway stretching from Rourkela to Jagdalpur
Rourkela Railway junction is situated on the Howrah-Mumbai line under Chakradharpur division of South-Eastern Railway. Apart from Rourkela Station, the other stations in Sundargarh District are Bondamunda, Panposh, Rajgangpur, Kalunga, Kansbahal, etc. The city is well connected through Railway to Howrah & Mumbai. Apart from this, the city enjoys direct connectivity to Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Ranchi, Ahmedabad, & Pune and other major city’s’ of India. Rourkela is a profit-generating junction of South-Eastern Railway. from Rourkela junction, one line also goes to Biramitrapur whereas two from Bondamunda. One more line goes from Bimalagarh to Kiriburu.
Bondamunda Loco Shed: Two locomotive sheds, one for steam locomotives and the other for diesel locomotives, was set up in the year 1950s. An electric locomotive shed was started in 1983 for accommodating WAM-4 locomotives, which accommodates 242 electric locomotives. New electric locomotive shed is under construction to expand & enhance capacity of 200 WAG-9 locomotives.
1. Ispat General Hospital
2. Rourkela Government Hospital
3. Shanti Memorial Hospital
4. ESIC Model Hospital
5. Sub Divisional Hospital, Panposh
6. Lifeline Hospital
7.Community Welfare Society Hospital
8.Vesaj Patel Hospital
9.Lions Eye Hospital
10.Hi-Tech Medical College & Hospital
1. Jaiprakash Hospital and Research Centre, Uditnagar
2. Jaiprakash Hospital (Main Campus), Dayanand Nagar, Vedvyas
Tourism & Recreation
Rourkela is the educational, technical and medical research hub of Western Odisha and even students from all parts of Odisha and some parts of neighboring states Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal come here to pursue higher education. city houses many English medium schools which provide CBSE and ICSE certificates to their students.
There are ICSE-ISC board schools like Sri Aurobindo’s Rourkela School, St. Paul’s School,Mt. Carmel School, St. Joseph’s Convent School,Ispat English Medium School, Indo English School, Chinmaya Vidyalaya(E.M.), MGM English Medium School, DeSouza’s School, St. Thomas School, St. Mary’s School, Loreto English School. Most of them are missionary based organizations run by licensee trustees. The students of various schools in Rourkela represent their schools in various national and international level competitions including IMO, IChO, and NASA.
The CBSE board schools include Deepika English Medium School, Delhi Public School, Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Dayanand Anglo-Vedic (DAV) School and St. Arnold school. The Central government has its own Kendriya Vidyalaya in Sector-6 and in Bondamunda. It also has notable Odia medium schools like Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Ispat Vidyalaya (Sector 18) and Baji Rout High School.