Bhubaneswar: Joda and Badbil, the two mining towns in Odisah’s Keonjhar district will be developed into model towns with an investment of Rs 913 crore.

At a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary AP Padhi, here on Friday, it was decided to adopt a multi-pronged approach for integrated development of the area. The chief secretary directed to develop the two towns in convergence with ongoing projects and schemes of the Centre and state government. Funds for the projects will be sourced from OMBADC, DMF besides the state and Central government schemes and programmes The secretary housing & urban development G. Mathivathanan outlined the issues for discussion.

The Joda-Badbil areas are India’s largest iron ore producing regions. Presently, around 21 mines in Joda and 5 mines in Badbil are producing iron and manganese ore. These 2 towns have a total population of around 1.13 lakhs among whom 45 to 48% belong to ST  & SC community. Around 7000 mineral loaded trucks pass through the towns each day carrying minerals from mining sites to railway sidings and ports.

The meeting identified 4 main focus areas such as Improved living Environment, Equitable and Sustainable Infrastructure, Economic Diversification and Harmony between Culture & Nature.  The project themes like Sabuja Sahar, Sukha Yatra, Nirapada Nagar, Samrudhi, Kaushal-Jibika and Prakruti & Sanskruti were envisaged for addressing the 4 focus areas. Around 14 intervention areas with definite action points were proposed and decided in the meeting. These included road dust control, railway siding dust control, sustainable practices, air quality monitoring, water quality improvement, creation of green spaces, promotion of non-motorized transport modes like e-rickshaws, improving road condition, enhancing public safety & security, welfare of aged, women & disabled, enhanced urban infrastructure and improving livelihood opportunities.

Additional chief secretary forest & environment Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, member Odisha state pollution control board Debidatta Biswal, special secretary planning & Convergence Debendra Kumar Jena, special secretary steel & mines S.K.Popil along with senior engineers, town planning experts participated in deliberations.