Orissa is a littoral state of India with a long coastline and a
storehouse of mineral wealth. Because of its mineral wealth and
strategic location it attracts foreign investment in steel,
aluminum, power, refineries, and infrastructure. Many foreign steel
companies ,like Arcelor Mittal and POSCO have invested money to make
steel plants in the state. Orissa is also emerging as a player in
the outsourcing IT (Information Technology) and IT services
industry. The total planned investment in the state is projected to
be 90 billion U.S. dollars. However, there are environmental
concerns and land acquisitions for some of these projects have been
opposed by the local people.
The relatively unindented coastline (c.200 mi/320 km long) lacks
good ports, except for the deepwater facility at Paradip. The
narrow, level coastal strip, including the Mahanadi River delta, is
exceedingly fertile. Orissa is home to the Hirakud Dam, one of the
longest dams in the world. Rainfall is heavy and regular, and two
crops of rice (by far the most important cereal) are grown annually.
The coastal alluvial plain is inhabited by the non-tribal speakers
of the Oriya language. The interior, inhabited largely by the
indigenous people known as Adivasis is hilly and mountainous. Orissa
is subject to intense cyclones; in October 1999, Tropical Cyclone
05B caused severe damage and some 10,000 deaths.
Orissa has several popular tourist destinations. Puri, with the
Jagannatha's temple near the sea, and Konark, with the Sun Temple,
are visited by thousands of tourists every year. The Lingaraja
Temple of Bhubaneswar, the Jagannatha Temple,the Sun Temple of
Konark and the Barabati Fort of Cuttack are important in the
archaeological history of India.