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
NameSponge Iron Plants in Odisha, India
SiteSundergarh, 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 DetailsThere 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 (in hectares)0
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Company Names or State EnterprisesKusum 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 actorsThe State Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersBonai Vana Suraksha Samiti Mandal, a people’s front in Sundargarh district, Centre for Science and Enviornment, Delhi (CSE), Vasundhara (Orissa), Ekta Parishad
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation 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-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
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 AlternativesMobilizers do not want sponge iron factories in these areas.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

Reports/Status of sponge iron plant in Orissa.pdf
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Industry Statistics, Orissa State Pollution Control Board
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Status of sponge iron plants in Orissa


India: Angry Villagers Bear Pollution Costs of Sponge Iron Industry
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(1) Down To Earth, 'Sponge iron industries are killing fields'
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(2) Down To Earth, Sponge iron’s dirty growth
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(3) 'India: Jindal Steel makes bloody attacks against Orissa villagers'
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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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Demonstration against sponge iron pollution in Orissa
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Orissa serves notices on 26 sponge iron units
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Orissa acts on defaulting sponge units; 90% steel units closed
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Showcause to five sponge iron plants in Odisha
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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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Media Links

Loha Garam Hai Part 1
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Loha Garam Hai Part 2
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Other CommentsThe 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
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update08/04/2014