Such operational problems due to lack of a quality road brought 21
industries together to form a company named Keonjhar Infrastructure
Development Company Limited or KIDCO to develop the road which would
ensure regular supply of ore to the industries and, again, reduce the
running distance between Keonjhar and Bamebari by 35 kilometres. But
getting adequate financial, management and monitoring support was still
an issue for KIDCO to go ahead with the project.
KIDCO then approached IL&FS – a renowned name in the infrastructure
financing and management sector. With persuasion of IL&FS Clusters’
financial team in Mumbai, SBI granted a loan of 58 crores in June 2009
and the project stepped further to make it not just a road but an
infrastructure to improve the state economy and life of people living in
90 villages who depended on it. However, some of the industries played
important role in mobilising the initial funds to make the project take
off. OP&HS - a Bhubaneswar based
started by a group of
young professionals from different fields
– partnered with the IL&FS to
supervise and monitor the project in Orissa.
Quality and timely completion was what the infrastructure planners and
builders tried to ensure. As the progress went little slow than what has
been targeted, IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative is now leading from
the front since the last monsoon in order to make up the delay in
execution. The team of professionals on the site have managed to
construct 20 Kilometres out of a total 28 Kilometres of the road by the
time this report is written. In many ways this is the first concrete
road being built by engineers rather than supervisors and workers.
Even though the whole infrastructure is yet to be completed, the impacts
are quite visible. With the road coming up, cost of transportation of
ore has drastically come down from Rs. 3.75 per tonne per kilometre to
Rs.1.75 per tonne per kilometre making a good dividend to be shared by
truckers, truck owners and the industries.
It’s not only that the industries and others who are involved in the
business are getting the benefit. The road has virtually changed the
life of communities living around the road - a direct impact being more
pucca houses built by the local communities. Economy of the area has
undergone a change. The local weekly markets popularly known as Haats
are more vibrant with more customers able to travel from farther areas.
Permanent Markets are also coming up on the roadside giving the village
community an access to better and improved products. Overall a sea
change in the economic activities of the area.
‘With the new concrete road that came up in their area, people are now
happy because they won’t have to experience a frustrating walk on the
slippy mud road in the rainy seasons’, says Dambarudhar Mahanta of
Kandarapasi village. Commuting to nearby and farther areas have become
easier with bus services starting from Kalimati located at 22nd
kilometre to as far as Bhubaneswar. Life expectancy has gone up as the
time taken to reach the hospital is reduced to about 20 minutes compared
to earlier 3 hours. ‘Earlier, it was a terrible affair to take a
pregnant woman to the nearby hospital. Now at least we can hope to reach
the hospital comfortably in time’, says Grasha Mahanta of Kandarapasi
The greatest and visible change is seen with the nature that has now
come in its own colour. Once offering dusts to cause tuberculosis and
bronchial diseases to the local communities and also to cover the green
leaves with a layer of dust, this infrastructure now offers a road to
the true colours of life and greenery making it an example for the
government to realise what kind of development the state needs to see
its downtrodden communities happy.