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Sponge Iron Plants in Odisha, India


Since 2002, India has been the largest producer of sponge iron, also called direct reduced iron (DRI), in the world. Today about 20 per cent of the sponge iron produced worldwide is made in India(1). Most of it is produced primarily through the coal based method of production. In Orissa only, there are about 108 sponge iron plants(2). The major problem with Indian sponge iron industry is that these are mostly coal-based units. Coal based sponge iron units are found to be extremely polluting. Sponge iron plants are categorized under 'red categories' industries which means that they have higher pollution potentials and cause serious health hazards. During operation it emits huge quantity of smoke containing oxides of sulphur and carbon, un-born carbon & silica particles. Similarly the processes also release extreme heat. Due to lack of proper/stringent monitoring mechanism, the plant owners seldom use this instrument thus leading to air pollution.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Sponge Iron Plants in Odisha, India
State or province:Orissa
Location of conflict:Sundergarh, Keonjhar, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Angul, Mayurbhanja
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Other industries
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

There are about 107 sponge iron plants in Orissa. The sponge iron plants are mostly distributed in 9 districts of state. Out of the total 107 number of sponge iron plants located in Orissa, sundergarh district has maximum number (47) followed by Keonjhar (20), Jharsuguda (13), sambalpur (10), Jajpur (5), Dhenkanal (4), Cuttack (4), Angul (3) and Mayurbhanja (1).

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Project area:0
Type of populationSemi-urban
Company names or state enterprises:Kusum Powermet Pvt. Ltd. from India
Neepaz Metaliks Pvt. Ltd. from India
Orissa Sponge Iron Ltd. from India
Rexon Strips Ltd from India
Scan Sponge Iron Ltd. from India
Scaw Industries Pvt ltd. from India
Shree Metaliks Ltd. from India
Deepak Steel and Power Ltd. from India
Grewal Associates M/s N.K. Bhojani
Deepak Minerals Pvt. Ltd. from India
Orion Ispat Ltd. from India
Rungta Group from India
M/s M.S.P. Sponge Iron from India
Prabhu Sponge Iron
Suraj Products Ltd. from India
OCL India Ltd. from India
Mangalam Ispat Pvt. Ltd. from India
Shristi Ispat Ltd.
Aditya Sponge & Power Ltd from India
Shri Mahavir Ferro-Alloys from India
Pvt. Ltd. from India
Scan Steels Ltd. from India
Utkal Metaliks Ltd. from India
Pawanjaya Sponge Iron Ltd. from India
Maa Tarini Industries
T.R. Chemicals
Suryaa Sponge Iron Ltd. from India
Shiv Sakti Sponge Ltd from India
Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. from India
Relevant government actors:The State Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Bonai Vana Suraksha Samiti Mandal, a people’s front in Sundargarh district, Centre for Science and Enviornment, Delhi (CSE), Vasundhara (Orissa), Ekta Parishad
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:Mobilizers do not want sponge iron factories in these areas.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:In a pro-active move, the Orissa State Pollution Control Board [OSPCB] has issued a closure notice to 10 sponge iron units of two Bhusan Group of companies and other 40 Spong iron units for violating pollution control norms (4).
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Status of sponge iron plants in Orissa

Reports/Status of sponge iron plant in Orissa.pdf
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Industry Statistics, Orissa State Pollution Control Board
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India: Angry Villagers Bear Pollution Costs of Sponge Iron Industry
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(3) 'India: Jindal Steel makes bloody attacks against Orissa villagers'
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Orissa serves notices on 26 sponge iron units
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Showcause to five sponge iron plants in Odisha
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Demonstration against sponge iron pollution in Orissa
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Pollution board asks BPSL to shut down 4 sponge iron units
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CSE dialogue on sponge iron in Odisha
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Vasundhara Orissa
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Ekta parisad
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(2) Down To Earth, Sponge iron’s dirty growth
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Orissa acts on defaulting sponge units; 90% steel units closed
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(1) Down To Earth, 'Sponge iron industries are killing fields'
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(4) The Economic Times, 'Orissa acts tough on erring sponge iron units, asks Bhusans to shut down 10 units'
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Loha Garam Hai Part 1
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Loha Garam Hai Part 2
[click to view]

Other comments:The plants are located in different areas within the state of Odisha (also spelled Orissa). We provide only one spot on the map, related to the district of Sundargarh.
Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:940
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