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Welcome to Jharsuguda
History
Jharsuguda owes its roots to tribal clans, amongst which 12 kishan families constituted a settlement called Jharguda in 12th Century AD. Siva Singh was awarded this village by his grandfather after he successfully slew a man-eating tiger that took lives of many villagers in the vicinity.

The unchallenged regime of Siva Singh’s descendants continued till the end of the 18th century, post which the state of Sambalpur disintegrated due internal dissension and eventual capitulation to the invasion of Marahattas Bhonsle.

In 1818 the state of Sambalpur came under British administration wherein Maharaja Sai was made the nominal king. Lord Ripon became the Viceroy of India in 1880, post which in the year 1882 the Local Self Government Act was enforced in India. In 1905, Jharsuguda, which was a part of the central province, was included in Orissa.

A Union board that was constituted in 1939 managed the affairs of Jharsuguda from 1941-42. In 1951 Jharsuguda Union Board was replaced by the Jharsuguda Municipality with 13 wards. The existent Mafidar of Jharsuguda Lal Haribans Singhdeo was elected as first Chairman of Jharsuguda Municipality on 5th October, 1952. Jharsuguda was declared as Sub-Division in 1979. The Sub-Division with its 5 component blocks namely Jharsuguda, Kolabira, Laikera, Kirmira and Lakhanpur achieved the status of a district in 1994.
 
Demographics
Spanning an area of 2081 square kilometres, Jharsuguda district has a population of 514853 people as per the 2001 census. 63.9% of the total population is categorized as rural while the remaining 36.1% is urban. The sex ratio stands at 946 females for every thousand males. The district has a good literacy rate of 83.04% for males but the literacy rate for females is poor at 59.23%.
 
Resources
Jharsuguda has abundant deposits of coal which makes the district an important commercial centre. The district is also richly endowed with forests that comprise an area of 26917 hectares. The Kharasrota, Birupa and Ib rivers along with Koiliharan, a tributary of the Mahanadi, flow through the district. The well drained plain contributes to the growing agrarian economy.
 
Unique Culture
Jharsuguda has a rich cultural heritage and residents of the district celebrate a number of festivals including Ranjta Festival, Ratha Jatra of Kukurjunga, Gokulastami Jatra of Rajpur and Makar Rathajatra of Belpahar.

Followed every year in the month of Aswin, Ranjita is celebrated in Jharsuguda and Kolabira. As a ritual, the descendants of the erstwhile zamindars parade in swords, spears, arrows and other weapons reminiscent of the valour of their ancestors.

Rathajatra is celebrated in a village of Jharsuguda called Kukurjanga and the festival commences from the second day of the bright lunar fortnight of ‘Ashada’.

Gokulastami Jatra of Rajpur celebrates the agrarian culture of the rural folk which primarily symbolizes the welfare of cattle and other domestic animals. Festivities begin from the seventh day of bright fortnight of Margasira. An idol of Krishna, carrying the mount ‘Goverdhan’ is cast, which is then worshiped in the midst of chanting of bhajans and kirtans.

On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, ‘Sabita Rathjatra’ is organised in the Jagannath temple of ‘Gumadera of Belpahar, 22 kms away from Jharsuguda, as a tribute to Lord Jagannath. Thousands of pilgrims assemble and partake of the enchanting bhajans, kirtans and entranced dancing.
 
Recent Developments
With a view to improve the living standards of the people, the government has undertaken several projects in Jharsuguda.

The first water supply venture started in 2003-04, during which a project worth Rs. 40.50 lakhs was commissioned to carry water to Lakhanpur, Sukhadihi and Jamera. In 2008-09, 49 initiatives estimated at Rs. 1119.74 lakhs have been commenced. During the same year, 59 out of 200 unproductive tube wells were sunk. Water provisions in all school toilets and most AWC toilets have been ensured.

Several notable initiatives have been taken towards building an educated and self sustained population. All students across classes are encouraged to take up primary and upper primary education and are given free text books. In-service training is provided to all teachers. Under a module called “Prayas”, the government has aimed at promoting holistic development of women throughout their lives, right from childhood. For the tribal people, community based programmes like Jatimahasabha, Rupantar and Srujan have been launched to foster active educational involvement of children, tribal youth and teachers.

For improving health and sanitation and to encourage general wellbeing, several hospitals and dispensaries have been built. Central Hospital, O.S.A.P Hospital, Rampur Colliery Hospital are some of them. Under the Panchabyadhi programme, medicines to all are offered free of cost for five diseases namely, diarrhoea, malaria, scabies, severe respiratory infections and leprosy.
 
Important Industries
Jhasuguda is one of the fastest growing commercial hubs of Orissa. Owing to the growth of many small-scale as well as large-scale industries, Jharsuguda has started functioning independently for Jharsuguda Revenue District from January, 2000.

The district supports major large and medium-scale industries like cement, thermal power, iron, oil and non metals like dolomite and quartzite. Small scale industries have mushroomed in this area and mainly deal in cement capsules, phenyl, fabrication, printing, tyre retreading, roller chain, feeder breaker components, repairs of light motor vehicles and pump spares.
 
Tourist Attractions
Apart from being an industrial district, Jharsuguda has rich cultural heritage and boasts of numerous tourist attractions.

The ancient cave of Bikramkhol, located in Banjari village bears remnants of prehistoric scripts, paintings of animals and indents by weapons made by a civilization that existed during 4000 BC.

Ruin of the ancient fort of Ulapgarh and the Kolabira fort on the banks of river “Telen” are spots arousing not just tourist interest but is also the subject of study for many researchers.

Ancient Siva shrine of Jhadeswar Temple, Shiva Shrine of Mahadebpali, Padmasini Temple of Padampur and Shree Pahadeswar Temple are religious sites that invite pilgrims from far and wide. Shree Pahadeswar Temple is particularly noted for offering a bird’s eye view of the Jharsuguda Township.

A Shaktipitha, an important place of Shakti worship, is situated at a distance of 10 km from Jharsuguda; Devi Ramchandi is worshipped here. The shrine carries its fame across Rampur to various other parts of Orissa.

Another area of tourist leisure is the beautiful natural locale of Kushmelbahal, where the Koilighugar water fall is situated. In the backdrop of the woods, a rivulet Ahiraj plunges from a height of 200 ft forming the Koilighugar falls. The place is of religious value owing to a shivalingam and a holy ashram that are located in the immediate surroundings.
 
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