The Pioneer reported that two public hearings were held in Keonjhar district of Odisha on 11 January to clear the decks of environmental clearance for expansion of 0.127 million tonnes per annum Karakhendra steel plant of the Rungta company to upgrade it to 0.606 million tonnes per annum crude steel along with installation of a power plant of 121 MW and expansion of 0.18 million tonnes per annum Karakolha sponge iron plant with DRI plant and 22 MW power plant. The public hearings were conducted in the presence of senior Government officials, industry representatives and community leaders.
Both these plants Karakolha and Karakhendra are situated near Barbil. The people supported the expansion of the steel plants but demanded that the company undertake CSR activities to solve issues relating to environmental pollution, health, education, communication, etc. The people urged both the industries and the Government to speed up development activities in the area.