Well-known nonresident Odia (NRO) Prof Digambara Patra has urged both Central and State Governments for setting up of a large technology center in Kalahandi district by boosting the Solar Charkha Mission in the KBK region.
In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Patra mentioned that most of the big initiatives and projects of the Cetnral and State Governments are limited to the coastal Odisha region and none of them have been proposed in the KBK region.
Odisha has about 4 lakh MSME units, which constitue 0.6 % of MSMEs in the country. This number is too small when its population is 3.2 % of India, remarked Patra.
About 60 per cent of MSMEs render repairing service, suggesting Odisha has limited contribution in manufacturing despite being known fr its metal and mining.
Presently, Odisha generates 474-MW solar power against India’s 34.6 GW production, Thus, Odisha’s share is 1.4 per cent. By 2022, when India aims to have 100 GW solar power, Odisha’s target is 1.5 GW, which is again 1.5 per cent.
Compared to its population both in solar power and MSME, Odisha’s share must grow two-fold and five-fold, respectively. The KBK region can potentially be developed for alumina, cotton, and agricultural-based MSME and solar industries.
Unfortunately, most of the aluminum and textile parks in Odisha are being established outside of the KBK districts, which play a major role in cotton production. Cotton cultivated in Kalahandi, Nuapada, Rayagada, Koraput, and Balangir districts is well known for its quality internationally. District wise Kalahandi is among the topmost districts for cotton production. Similarly, Kalahandi, Sonepur, Bargarh, and Koraput region is known for handloom textiles. Even Khadi products in the Kalahandi region were known in the old days.
Additionally, exploitation of bonded laborers from KBK districts, especially Kalahandi, Nuapada, and Balangir in various cities of India have drawn international and national condemnation for human right violation.
Since the Ministry of MSME has a special focus on Khadi through Solar Charkha Mission, both Centre and State Governmenta should encourage cotton growing farmers, villagers and migrant labourers in KBK region by giving them training and help to establish MSMEs.
The Ministry of MSMEs has a proposal to make 20 large technology centers and 100 small technology centers to facilitate MSME. A large technology centre for south-western Odisha is essential.
Finally, cotton and textile-based MSME can lead to establishing a “Textile and Cotton Park” in Kalahandi region under the Ministry of Textile, which would create employments in the KBK-Kandhamal-Gajapati-Bargarh region.