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JAMSHEDPUR A city in the state of Jharkhand, Jamshedpur's population was 1 million in 2001. It is named after Jamsetji N. Tata, a Parsi industrialist. Tata had built several cotton textile mills before deciding to take the risk of establishing a steel mill in India. Since India is rich in coal and iron ore, it presented a natural advantage for the development of steel industry. Because British steel dominated the Indian market, Tata turned to U.S. engineers for advice on setting up his mill. Though he died before the mill was started, his sons Dorab and Ratan managed to raise the huge amount of capital required for the enterprise. Fifteen Indian maharajas were among the investors. Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) was founded in 1907; the village Sakchi in Singbhum District, close to the iron ore deposits, was chosen as the site for the mill. In 1908 TISCO acquired 3,584 acres around Sakchi and thus became a large landowner. For the future development of the steel city, this was a great boon, as municipal government and city planning remained under control of the company.

TISCO started operating its first blast furnace in 1911. The venture could still have turned out to be a costly flop, but then World War I cut off trade links with Europe. TISCO now had to supply the entire Indian market; it also received British orders, for example for the Mesopotamian railway that was built for strategic reasons during the war. In 1919 Sakchi was given its new name, Jamshedpur, and became a veritable boom town. Wartime profits were invested in an expansion of the steel mill. But then a new challenge emerged, as cheap Belgian and German steel flooded the Indian market. In 1924 the British government of India imposed a protective tariff on steel with a preferential rate for British steel. TISCO survived and prospered once more during World War II. Since the supply of locomotives for Indian railways was cut off during the war, TELCO (Tata Engine and Locomotive Co.) was established at Jamshedpur in 1944. Later, TELCO became the major producer of trucks in India, initially in cooperation with Daimler-Benz (Mercedes), but then expanding rapidly on its own. In independent India, heavy industry was reserved for the public sector. TISCO was not nationalized, but it was not permitted to expand. This also constrained the growth of Jamshedpur, which could otherwise have emerged as an industrial metropolis even earlier than Bangalore.

Dietmar Rothermund


Dutta, Maya. Jamshedpur: The Growth of the City and Its

Regions. Kolkata: Asiatic Society, 1977. Misra, Babu Ram. Report on Socio-Economic Survey of

Jamshedpur City. Patna: Patna University, 1959. Vishwakarma, Y. B. Industrialization and Tribal Ecology:

Jamshedpur and Its Environs. Jaipur: Rawat, 1991.

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