District Zero: (Un)Make in Nabarangpur
Nestled among paddy fields and surrounded by a thicket of eucalyptus trees is Mangalam Timber Production Limited, right in the heart of Odisha’s south-western district of Nabarangpur. Branching off from State Highway 39, it takes a bone-racking detour on a 3 km weather-beaten track to get to the factory. This road tells the story, in part, of the casual relationship between the district administration and industry in the district. Nabarangpur is the focus of a year-long assignment launched by The Indian Express on August 15, 2015, to track poverty and transformation in India’s poorest district. The drive to the Kolkata-headquartered Mangalam factory is proof that industrial backwardness and lack of employability lies at the heart of Nabarangpur’s problems.