Bokaro Steel City is one of the most important industrial cities of India. It is fuelled and owned by SAIL. It has steel plants running in the city, due to which Bokaro got its name. Despite of being in a state as underdeveloped as Jharkhand, it has remarkable infrastructure. Stated in the eastern zone, it is one of the biggest social and economical centres in the area.
There is no man alive who can describe a city with all its aspects. And when the city is as diverse as Bokaro, you simply cannot say much with a couple of visits or two. You have to live there to feel the city, feel the environment, feel the drive flowing through your own flesh and blood. Bokaro was founded by SAIL itself for the abundant ores in the area. It is still running a big part of the city. But nowadays, the main thing driving the city is education.
Kota in Rajasthan is called the ‘Mecca of coaching institutes’ in India while Dehradun is the ‘Schooling Capital’. In the north eastern states of India, Bokaro is the biggest education hub. It got famous when two students from the local DPS achieved top 10 ranks in the IIT JEE in the interval of three years. It had had good schools before that too; funded by the rich employees of SAIL, but after that particular success, It became a magnet to students. Many schools sprang up offering quality education to students from far off, and some even overcame the fabled DPS in quality and result.
Presently, 43% of the city’s economy is funded by schools, coaching institutes and business related to students spread all over the city. The economy is driven by the needs of thousands and thousands of students coming each year. Their need of food, lodging, necessities, and other requirements drives a large part of the city’s populace. Students are the lifeline of Bokaro. When the season of holidays arrive, students start leaving for their homes to spend time with their families. Only then one comes to know how empty the streets of Bokaro feel in the absence of the students.
The brightly lit streets start going emptier and emptier as the evening advances into the night. The roads and crossroads become devoid of the hustle and bustle of the students full of life. Every way you look, you would only see empty roads stretching as far as you can see, glowing brightly in the ever-present electric lamps. The two sides of road appear to meet in one point in the perfectly designed grid patterned streets. The high mast lights stand as silent as giants mourning their loved ones. The 24 hours electricity keeps coming as if nothing has happened. Well, the infrastructure of the city is not designed to change with the population.
Bokaro is neatly built in a grid pattern of wide and narrow roads. The asphalt of every road present is kept well repaired and well maintained. Since the steel plant requires electricity 24×7, the people of Bokaro enjoy it too. The city is designed for the easy transport of industrial vehicles and other heavy load carriers. So even the narrowest streets are wide enough for two cars to pass each other without much hindrance. The design of the city has concentrated the whole commerce in one spot.
The city is divided in sectors, from Sector I to Sector XIII. The centre for the commerce and business, also known as ‘City Centre’ is located in sector IV. The Design of the city has kept it in the dead centre of Bokaro. It is surrounded by sectors IV-B, IV-E, IV-D and sector III on the four sides. Being the largest sector, it is a well chosen spot for the city centre. The other sectors also have small markets and business places, but IV is the capital.
Keeping the education well away from the bustling City Centre, most of the schools are in sector III,V,VI and VIII. The only exception is DPS itself, which caused the business to polarise around its premises. One can avail auto rickshaw as a transport between the sectors. There is mostly slum or forest between sectors. Connectivity among them is a problem as you can hail as many auto rickshaw from the City Centre as you want to anywhere you want to go. But the effort of making a return trip is fairly neck-breaking. If you convince an auto driver to take you to your destination, He demands at least twice the regular fair. It is not a very big problem as 50% of the people have cars and bikes ready to go, thanks to SAIL’s more than adequate payment, and the rest 40% are students, almost all of them having bicycles. But if you are neither and fall into the 10% then you would have to face problems.
Connectivity is a real problem except for City Centre and the ‘Naya More’ (bus stand). If you want to go to either of them, you can smoothly get transport. You can also get easy transport if you depart from either of the places. But the rest create a problem. The local railway station is situated about 15 kilometres outside the city, which is a small journey itself, and a daunting task as well. A local airport also adorns Bokaro, but it can only accommodate small planes. Overall, connectivity is a problem in Bokaro.
Despite of any of the obstacles, there is a wide pool of people from different places in Bokaro. Students and businessmen from Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, and other districts in Jharkhand see Bokaro as a promising place for their ventures. You get to meet and know a whole lot of people from different areas and customs. It is a hub for culture as well.
Education drives the city, its design is excellent and the connectivity is as well as most of the places. It is definitely a place to visit and spend some time in.
Written for the #madeofgreat Zonal War, @indiblogger