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Rourkela, which in Sadri dialect spoken by local Tribal means “Your Village”, was a tiny village till the year 1952. Once decision was taken by the Government of India to set up an Integrated Steel Plant here and foundation for a Temple of Modern India' was laid, the process of development started, and to cope up with the rising demand for provisions, services and construction materials, businessmen, industrialists and contractors from different parts of Orissa and other states started establishing themselves in and around Rourkela. Rourkela or "Your Village" in its true sense embraced each and every body who so ever came to stay here and from any part of the State or country. With rapid industrialization, "Roue" became "Ruhr" of India for West Germans - the technical collaborators of the Steel Plant.

With growth of commercial activities here, some enterprising businessmen joined hands to form "Chamber of Commerce Rourkela" and with hopes and aspirations for the future toiled very hard to create an infrastructure which was to become a catalyst for future growth of Industries and Trade in the area. Under the president-ship of Late S.N. Agrawal this Chamber was inaugurated on 15th February 1962 by Sri Biju Patnaik the then Chief Minister of Orissa. 

In the year 1971 the leading local Industrialist of Rourkela Sri K.R Jhunjhunwala took over the reign of the Chamber. By then Rourkela Steel Plant had started production. Many large industrial Units had been set up and Trading Houses had also established themselves at Rourkela. Till that time Chamber of Commerce was looking after interest of Trade and Commerce only to give it a broader base and to give more accurate idea about its functions the name "Chamber of Commerce" was changed to “Rourkela Chamber of Commerce & Industry” and the same was registered under the Societies Registration Act.

With active support of entire Trade, Commerce & Industry, “Rourkela Chamber of Commerce and industry” restarted its journey of progress in the year 1971 and since then it has never looked back, and continues its march towards progress and prosperity of this area joining hands with all promotional activities for Trade & Industry. In course of time, Sri S.R. Kedia, Sri T.C. Kayal, Sri R.A. Jalan, Sri R.H. Dalmia, Sri Ravin Jhunjhunwala, Sri M.L. Chand, Sri U. Mathur, Sri S.L. Singhal, Sri G.S. Agrawal, Sri BR Agrawal, Sri N.C. Sanghvi and Sri N.K. Agrawal led this Chamber during different years with the active support of General Secretaries like Sri S.R. Bagaria, Sri H.K. Agrawal, Sri Dindayal Agrawal, Sri S.K. Khaitan. Miss Kavita Ray and Sri Ramotar Agrawal

In the Year 1962 the chamber started with only a meager membership of 50. and since then this Chamber has grown from strength to strength and now it has the humble pride in becoming the largest Business Association of State with more than 800 members on its roll comprising of large and medium industries including Orissa Cement Limited, Orissa industries Ltd, Larsen & Toubro Limited, IDL Chemicals Ltd. Etc., Small-Scale Industries, Large Trading Houses and Small Traders.

During its initial years the Chamber was mostly concerned with creating necessary infrastructure for growth such as Railway System, Passenger amenities, Telephone System, Road Transport, Drinking Water facilities for inhabitants, Educational facilities, Accommodation for visiting public to Rourkela etc. Such activities continued till the end of sixties and the Chamber had its share of joy whenever success was achieved.

The Chamber started interacting with Rourkela Steel Plant in the beginning of seventies when it was felt that though the Steel Plant produced many items of iron & Steel, the local industries & Trade had to procure such materials from markets outside the State. Supplies of iron & Steel materials from Rourkela Steel Plant to local industries and Trade was nil till that time. We have pride in stating that our efforts yielded results, and with co¬operation from Steel Plant Authorities, direct sale of material to local industries and trade started. We are glad to mention that at present more than 1.5 lakh tonnes of such materials are being directly supplied by Rourkela Steel Plant to local industries and Trade annually. The Chamber has the unique privilege of meeting with almost all the previous and present Union Steel Ministers and the Chairman of Steel Authority of India Ltd. No doubt all the past and present Managing Directors of Rourkela Steel Plant have always helped and inspired us.

Eighties marked a new change in the atmosphere, and with the State Government embarking upon a massive plan for industrial Development in the State, the Chamber worked in close co-operation with State industries Department and its many ideas and suggestions were incorporated in the State industrial Policy 1980. The policy heralded a new era in industrial activities and an impressive growth was witnessed in 1st half of present decade.

Second half of Eighties began with a new thrust in atmosphere. On the one hand the industries established earlier in Rourkela area started losing momentum and profitability started declining, and on the other hand new opportunities were thrown open by the Union Government under Sri Rajiv Gandhi with the announcement of liberal schemes for modernization, diversification and expansion of existing industries and relaxation in the field of import of Technology and equity participation by multi-national companies in High-Tech areas. The Government was all set for creating a modern industrial Society. All over the country new hopes were raised, fresh investments were made and share markets reached dizzy-heights. Tuning itself with the new mood, the State Government, in close consultation with different Chambers of Commerce and industries and Associations, announced a bold industrial Policy with effect from 1st April 1986.

Unfortunately this Policy which otherwise could have ushered a new era of Industrial Development in the State, could not be implemented in full due to various obstacles put by the local Sales Tax Department, and most of Entrepreneurs who had set up their units after 1980 and 1986 are facing problems in respect of Sales Tax. The Chamber instead of engaging itself in further rapid industrialization of the area is mostly at present busy in helping to solve Sales Tax problems of Entrepreneurs and Traders. However, being a grass root level Chamber, we have learnt to live with all hurdles and have overcome the same in past. With dedicated efforts and help from all our members, we hope, we will be able to solve the present problem also.

The Chamber wants to concentrate its activities in future for development of Medium industries in the area of particularly Chemical, Mining and Electronics industries. It will also engage itself with the modernization programme of Rourkela Steel Plant with fresh investment of Rs.2,660 Crores. it will be endeavor of the Chamber to see that the opportunity provided by Rourkela Steel Plants modernization Project is availed by local Industries and trading Houses also, and they are not left in cold. Industries are also the areas where Chamber wants to associate itself.

Since the Chamber had established itself as the representative body of Trade, Commerce & industry in the State, it was given due recognition by Central & State Governments as well, and our Chamber has been given representation in various Central and State Government Advisory Bodies. In the past. this Chamber has been graced by the august presence of the then Governor of Orissa Sri B.D. Jati, and then Chief Minister of Orissa Sri Bijoyanand Patnaik, Late Biswanath Das, Smt. Nandini Satpathy and Late Binayak Acharya. Sri Janaki Ballav Pattanaik , the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Orissa has graced our function in the past also. Apart from the above dignitaries, many Central Ministers, State Ministers, senior officials of the State & Central Governments and SAIL have graced the Chamber several times on different occasions with their presence.

Rourkela Chamber had the opportunity to send a business delegation consisting of 36 members to European countries coinciding with the Hannover World Fair in West Germany in the year 1980 under the leadership of Shri Ravin Jhunjhunwala. Main emphasis of this delegation was on Hannover Fair to explore opportunities of business in collaboration with the Trade & industry of European countries. This delegation visited different cities of European countries in general and industrial Towns of West Germany in particular.

This delegation held meetings with the Representatives of international Trade Centre. Geneva, Paris Chamber of Commerce, London Chamber of Commerce and U.K. Trade Agency, Copenhagen Chamber of Commerce, Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce, Federation of German industries (BDI), The Association of Consulting Engineering Firms (VUBI), Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (Dosseldeorf) Dosseldeorf Chamber of Commerce and Indian investment Centre. This delegation also visited Ruhort Work of M/s Thyssen A.G., which is the largest steel making Corporation in Europe. The Federation of German industries (B.D.I.) recognized our delegation as a National Delegation from India. It was also honored by Hamburg Chamber of Commerce with National Tri-colour flying on the boat in which it was taken around the Hamburg Harbor. This Delegation was honored by Mayor of Stuttgart and Chairman of Hannover Fair and was also received by the Indian Residents of West Germany under the Banner of ARIA (Association for Reintegration of Indians Abroad). This delegation successfully projected Orissa and its future potential as an industrially developed State, and Industrialists and businessmen in these countries developed interest in Orissa. As a result our chamber had the opportunity to receive Counsel General of West Germany and U.S.A. many times. Delegation from ARIA from West Germany and several other delegations also visited Rourkela.

Another business delegation of Chamber consisting of 17 members visited the city of Hongkong. Singapore and other cities of Thailand in the year 1985, and met many industrialists there. Our Chamber is affiliated with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Shri Harishankar Singhania, the then President of FICCI has also addressed us.

The Chamber has organized many seminars and meetings where senior officials from Central & State Governments and SAIL have participated and outcome of discussions were reflected in many Government and SAIL Policies. This Chamber has closely worked with the Press and it has been graced by the presence of Shri Tushar Kanti Ghost), Chief of Anand Bazar Patrika group, and other eminent journalists from time to time.

Rourkela Chamber has not limited its activities to the development of Trade. Commerce & industry only, but also came forward to help at the time of natural calamities in the State by generous donations & taking up distributions of relief materials in the affected areas. It has also organized cultural functions like Ravindra Jain Nite, All India Kavi Sammelans etc. for healthy entertainment of its members.

An important event of this Chamber every year is the Annual Picnic of its members where all the members with their families and friends participate in a gathering of hundreds. This annual picnic always coincides with Interim General Meeting of the Chamber. Our Chamber has privilege of publishing a fortnightly Bulletin in which useful information regarding Trade and Industry. Government circulars and notifications etc. are incorporated for benefit of its members and others.

A long cherished dream of our members has been fulfilled today with the Laying foundation stone for chambers Building by Sri Janaki Ballav Pattanaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Orissa. He has been very kind in allotting necessary Government land for the same with the considered recommendation of the district administration. This building will be a true catalyst point for all Trading and Industrial activities in the State.

Today Rourkela Chamber is the apex body of the entire trade, commerce & industry of this part of Orissa and with close co-operation of State Government, Rourkela Steel Plant, Large, Medium and Small-Scale Industries, Traders and many National and State Level Associations, this Chamber has been able to create an atmosphere where it is in the helm of all activities pertaining to trade and industry in this part of Orissa.

In the growth of Indus-trial & Economic activities in this area, the Chamber has its humble share of joy. The Chamber is too modest to claim the credit for any major achievement to itself but its presence can be breathed everywhere in business atmosphere.

 

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