Jamshedpur, one of the country’s earliest industrial townships, while not on the official list of smart cities, is gearing up to be one in all earnest.
Almost hundred years ago, on January 2, 1919, in a speech delivered from the Director’s bungalow in Sakchi, the Governor-General and Viceroy of India, Lord Chelmsford, remarked upon the conclusion of World War I: “I can hardly imagine what we should have done during these four years if the Tata Company had not been able to gift us steel rails which have been provided for us, not only for Mesopotamia but for Egypt, Palestine and East Africa, and I have come to express my thanks.”
When Sir Dorabji Tata founded the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) in 1907, Sakshi was just brushwood and jungle. In 10 years, the township had 50,000 residents. In order to run an industry that required a little over 1,500 acres, the Tatas went on to manage a city of 15,000 acres. In memory of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, the founder of the Tata Group, Chelmsford renamed the town Jamshedpur.
On the Right Track
In 1902, much before the city-planning activities began, Jamsetji Tata wrote to his son to “be sure to lay wide streets planted with shady trees, every other of a quick-growing variety. Be sure that there is plenty of space for lawns and gardens. Reserve large areas for football, hockey and parks. Earmark areas for Hindu temples, Mohammedan mosques and Christian churches.”
We Also Make Steel
In 1977, the company — and the township of Jamshedpur — narrowly escaped nationalisation. George Fernandes, Industry Minister of the Janata Government, had intended to do just that, but the company ran a campaign against the proposal, outlining its charitable activities and ending with the tagline: ‘We also make steel.’ It could well have also said, ‘We also make cities.’
Foundation of JUSCO
Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Co. Ltd (JUSCO), which provides utility services such as water, power and waste management in the city. JUSCO is a one-of-its-kind utility company in the country—carved out of Tata Steel from its Town Services Division in 2004—that provides the services as an integrated entity; elsewhere, different companies provide different utility services.
IOT the Game Changer
From the Beginning of JUSCO Sahyog Kendra to set up multiple projects with Tata Communications, JUSCO has come a long way.
- Jamshedpur is one of the first to use Tata Communications’ LoRa network for smart city services such as smart metering and lighting. Besides doing Proofs of Concept (PoCs) for smart street lighting—in which lights can automatically adjust their brightness based on factors such as the available natural light or density of traffic
- JUSCO is installing sensors under the manholes in the city so that the water level can be monitored and preventive action is taken before the water actually gushes out of the sewers onto city streets.
- Jamshedpur is probably the only city in the country where one million people drink water directly from the tap and do not need any kind of purification system on their premises.
- JUSCO is monitoring a number of parameters for the hundreds of electricity transformers it has deployed across the city. “The sensors installed on our big transformers constantly monitor what is happening inside them and they send that data to the C&C centre, which helps them to be far more proactive in their approach to find solutions to problems or even pre-empt them.
“Progressive cities are never completed; they keep on improving.”Ashish Mathur, managing director of Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Co. Ltd (JUSCO)
Why Constantly Wasting Money
These developments always received harsh criticism, Even during their grim period, the Company always invest in building the town of Jamshedpur, and in workers welfare.
After World War 1, Tata Steel was not doing well, at that period, some shareholders criticised Tata Steel harshly, for building sanitation and housing during a difficult time, rather than focusing on profits alone.
The matter came to a head in Oct. 1923, at a tense AGM of the Company.
R.D. Tata (Director, also father of J.R.D. Tata) rose to speak, facing angry shareholders. He told them
“We are constantly accused by people of wasting money in the town of Jamshedpur.
We are asked why it should be necessary to spend so much on housing, sanitation, roads, hospitals and welfare…Gentlemen, people who ask these questions are sadly lacking in imagination.
We are not putting up a row of workmen’s huts in Jamshedpur – we are building a city.