The Road to Sakchi began in Pittsburgh. At the turn of the century, Jamshetji Tata went to Pittsburgh and asked geologist Charles Page Perin to help him find the site to build his dream—India’s first steel plant. The search for a site rich in iron, coal, limestone and water began in April 1904 in today’s Madhya Pradesh. The intrepid hunters were C M Weld, Dorab Tata and Shapurji Saklatvala. It took nearly three years of painstaking prospecting across vast stretches of inhospitable terrain for Lady Luck to smile. And smile she did, near a village called Sakchi (now part of Tatanagar), on the densely forested stretches of the Chota Nagpur plateau.

The hunt was over. But a greater adventure was yet to begin. The task was awesome. Building a steel plant was a titanic enterprise. And so was the Steel City. But Jamshetji’s blueprint was clear. It looked beyond a mere row of workers’ huts and insisted upon installing all the comforts and conveniences a city could provide. When the first spade struck the soil, the seeds were sown. India’s Steel City took and sprang to life.

The Picture in the right hand side show the Kalimati railway station as it was on those days which later renamed as Tatanagar. People engaged in the gigantic task of building often had to encounter bears and elephants whose legitimate territory they were usurping. According to one story the same station was the maternity ward for a bear who delivered her cub in the station master’s room.

In 1902 Mr. J.N. Tata wrote about his dream of a city to his son Dorabji, “Be sure to lay wide streets planted with shady trees of a quick growing variety. Be sure that there is plenty of space for parks, Lawns and gardens. Reserve large areas for football and hockey. Ear-mark areas for temples, mosques and churches.

By 1911, when Lovat Faser visited Sakchi he found that manufacturing of iron had already begun and he saw a beautiful city in the making.

Originally named ‘Sakchi’, Lord Chelmsford renamed it as Jamshedpur in 1919 as a tribute to its magnificent founder Jamshetji Tata. From the very beginning the steel city was well planned not only to provide clean pleasant and congenial environment but also to ensure the orderly growth of the city. Mr. J.R.D. Tata said in 1923,”We are not putting up a row of workmen’s huts, we are building a city of culture, religion and race.”

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