Please zoom in or out and select the base layer according to your preference to make the map ready for printing, then press the Print button above.

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.

The villagers located around these factories alleged that owing to dust pollution, the vegetation has drastically come down and whatever is cultivated is unfit for consumption. They charged that repeated appeals to the district administration had failed to evoke a response.

These plants have come up mostly in tribal villages, which have been reportedly harassed by police forces with the compliance of iron companies (3). Furthermore, they dont add much to the local economy either. Despite initial assurances of job security, few local villagers have been hired. Given that most villagers lack adequate qualification, those that do get jobs are usually hired as unskilled labourers with no insurance or medical benefits.

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:Mineral processing
Other industries
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).

The reason of development of sponge iron plants in cluster is because of the easily availability of raw materials & communication facility in those areas.

According to SPCB, Orissa data regarding the production capacity & number of kiln in the state as on 31.12.2008, it is found at 33140 TPD & 247 respectively. From the data obtained it is found out that kilns having capacity of 100 TPD is highest number in state (150) and the production rate of these kilns is found to be at 15100 TPD followed by 500 16 number, 8000TPD) & 50 (47 number) & 350 TPD kiln (13 number). The TATA sponge iron plant at Beleipada, Keonjhar and Arati steel located at Ghantikhal, Cuttack are the plants having 500 TPD kiln capacity.

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
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


Industry Statistics, Orissa State Pollution Control Board

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

India: Angry Villagers Bear Pollution Costs of Sponge Iron Industry

(3) 'India: Jindal Steel makes bloody attacks against Orissa villagers'

Orissa serves notices on 26 sponge iron units

Showcause to five sponge iron plants in Odisha

Demonstration against sponge iron pollution in Orissa

Pollution board asks BPSL to shut down 4 sponge iron units

CSE dialogue on sponge iron in Odisha

Vasundhara Orissa

Ekta parisad

(2) Down To Earth, Sponge iron’s dirty growth

Orissa acts on defaulting sponge units; 90% steel units closed

(1) Down To Earth, 'Sponge iron industries are killing fields'

(4) The Economic Times, 'Orissa acts tough on erring sponge iron units, asks Bhusans to shut down 10 units'

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Loha Garam Hai Part 1

Loha Garam Hai Part 2

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 update08/04/2014