Thursday, April 19, 2007

Business Hub in KBK; a dire need, March 21, 2007

Imagine Visakhapatnam is the major centre for health care and education centre for the whole Southern and South Western Orissa.

Majority of the revenues generated in health sector in this city comes from Orissa fueling growth in medication and hospitality sectors in Andhra Pradesh.

And the state government raises revenue and employment opportunity for the local community grows.

Similarly Raipur, the Capital city of Chhatisgarh is the common man’s commercial center for textiles, home and agricultural appliances and machineries for the whole KBK and part of western Orissa regions.

Money earned in Orissa is finally spent in neighboring states for medication, education, textiles, home and agricultural appliances and machineries making Orissa a big loser.

The amount of business done by Orissa people in these two neighboring cities may relatively look a small portion compared to the whole state, however, when counted in total common people parlance in the bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh and Chhatisgarh we do spend a large sum directly or indirectly in Visakhapatnam or Raipur for above reasons.

Raipur and Visakhapatnam could establish themselves as commercial centers for common man in last two decades largely by fulfilling the requirements of people living in the bordering districts of Southern and Western districts of Orissa.

Its also true that major bordering towns of Orissa like Berhampur, Sambalpur, and Rourkela could make a mark but it was only up to the district level and without impacting largely on the inter-district or inter-state commercial success.

In fact in health sector Visakhaptanam became popular among the people of Orissa not because of love for Andhra Pradesh but for poor facilities in Sambalpur and Berhampur medical college and hospital.

Poor infrastructure is the main bottleneck as there is no direct and proper railway and road connectivity to the state capital from the KBK and other bordering regions.

And secondly failure of service centers and down stream industries in Orissa has weaken the economic growth of these urban centres.

Though recently state government has taken initiatives to establish many private engineering & medical colleges and universities in Orissa, revive the SSI sector of Orissa and promote ancillary as well as downstream industries but absence of commercial hubs have resulted in siphoning of large chunk of money from Orissa to neighbouring states.

In order to arrest the money flow it is pertinent to establish at least seven commercial business hubs at Bhawanipatna, Koraput, Berhampur, Balasore, Keonjhar, Rourkela, and Sambalpur keeping common man's commercial requirements in various sectors.

And connecting all of these place directly by road and railway with the major commercial business center at Cuttack-Bhubaneswar corridor will go a long way.

As size of western and northern borders of Orissa is quite large enough and geographically covers a large area of the state, later on two more commercial business hubs could also be established at Bolangir and Baripada.

As many as seven to nine commercial business hubs would cover the whole Orissa and money fly can be arrested which will bring new opportunities.

At this moment Bhawanipatna and Koraput urgently need special attention in this regard as these regions dish out maximum percent of their earning by common man to the neighboring states for the above reasons.

Are the town planners and Urban sector honchos listening ?

By Dr Digambara Patra Visiting Lecturer (Department of Physics, Waseda University, Tokyo)


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