Pradeep Pattanayak

There was a time when Berhampur City was known as an industrial hub. The roads, lanes and by-lanes were always teeming with industrial activity. While the city was dotted with over 50 industries and factories, hundreds of people were earning their livelihood from them.  

These days, the city, also known as the silk city, is struggling to save its identity. 

The industries and factories set up in the city were manufacturing a wide variety of items from radios to wrist watches, spare parts, oil and medicines. They all came up on Idco land. As of now, the hustle and bustle has become a thing of the past. With factories and industries overgrown with wild weeds and bushes, they are looking no better than hunted houses. 

Meanwhile, the owners have already relocated the machinery, leaving the sign boards to tell people about the glorious past. It is alleged that some of the abandoned factory buildings have been encroached upon. 

“With many factories and industries being closed now, the industrial hub has lost its identity. Only three to four small factories are left now,” said L Sudam Das, a local resident. 

“Here we have Parala Maharaja Degree College, UCP Engineering College, Polytechnic College and an ITI. Thousands of students are reading at the ITI.  But as the factories have been shut down, they don’t have any opportunity here. They are forced to migrate to other states,” observed Siba Shankar Das, another local resident. 

Of the remaining factories, only two are noticeable ones. One is a science training centre set up by the MSME department where the quality of lemon grass and kewda flower is tested. Rural youths are also receiving training here. And the second one is a small Chow Mein factory.  

“Many industries have downed their shutters. We are somehow running the factory,” said Suresh Patra, owner of the Chow Mein factory. 
“Without any long–term programme, nothing can be done,” observed the unit head of FFDC, VV Ramarao. 

When contacted, the manager of the district industrial centre, Ganjam, Lokanath Dalabehera said “Many BTech students are now coming forward to set up industries.”

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