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Iron and Steel Factories come up in India


In the year 1904 American geologist Charles Weld and Dorabji Tata discovered iron ore in the Rajhara hills of Chhattisgarh. The Agaria community were native inhabitants of this region.



Rajhara hills of Chhattisgarh


Rajhara Hills had one of the finest ores in the world.

The Tatas were not able to start their Iron and steel factory near the Rajhara Hills as the region was very dry. The steel factory needed plenty of water.

A few years later a large area of forest was cleared on the banks of the river Subarnarekha to set up the factory. The industrial township was named Jamshedpur after Dorabji Tata’s father Jamsetji Tata.

Jamsetji Tata


The Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) that came up in Jamshedpur began producing steel in 1912.

Tata Steel Plant



Statue of Jamsetji Tata outside the Tata Steel Plant in Jamshedpur

  • TISCO was set up at an opportune time.

  • All through the late nineteenth century, India was importing steel that was manufactured in Britain.

  • Expansion of the railways in India had provided a huge market for rails that Britain produced.

  • British experts in the Indian Railways were unwilling to believe that good quality steel could be produced in India.

  • In 1914 the First World War broke out. Steel produced in Britain now had to meet the demands of war in Europe.

  • Imports of British steel into India declined dramatically and the Indian Railways turned to TISCO for supply of rails.

  • As the war dragged on for several years, TISCO had to produce shells and carriage wheels for the war.

  • By 1919 the colonial government was buying 90 per cent of the steel manufactured by TISCO.

  • Soon TISCO became the biggest steel industry within the British Empire.

The iron and steel and cotton textiles industries expanded only when British imports into India declined and the market for Indian industrial goods increased. This took place during the First World War and after.

As the independence movement gathered strength the industrial class became stronger.

The British government struggled to maintain its control over India. It had to give in to the many demands of the rising Indians in the last decades of its colonial rule.

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