Visnews filmed Feb 3 India's first Government's controlled and operated steel plant built by West German engineers at Rourkela.
Visnews filmed Feb 3 India's first Government's controlled and operated steel plant built by West German engineers at Rourkela. President Rajendra Prasad pushing the inaugural button to release bubbling pig iron from its first blast furnace said the day marked a start to a life "free from misery and want", helping bridge the gulf between what is and what ought to be." The furnace produces 1000 tons a day for conversion into steel.
Thousands of workers engaged on the 22- square mile township and plant and their families were at the ceremony - an historic day in the second five-year development plan within the framework of the Nehru Government's rising socialist welfare state. The Rourkela plant, and two others at Bhilai built by the Soviet Union and at Durgapur being built by a British consortium, form the nucleus of a 500-mile complex from Madhya Pradesh through Orissa to W. Bengal. In the words of the President, these three giant steel plant with the region's mineral sources bid fair in course of time to become the Ruhr of India."
The Rourkela plant built by 36 W. German firms officially opened a day before the Russian-built Bhilai plant. Officially there has been no race by the three countries though observers noted growing rivalry between the W. Germans and the Russians. Rourkela first unleashed its pig iron Jan 24. Two more blast furnaces will be ready early next year. A fourth is contemplated later. The capacity of each is or will be 1000 tons of pig iron daily. Rourkela's estimated annual output of steel of one million tons is to be ultimately doubled.
The State's aim is to boost the national output to six million ingot tons.