Ratnakar Sadasyula
Vizag-Bhubaneshwar: A Potential Growth Corridor
This article originally appeared in CRI content has now been subsumed in The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of

Vishakapatnam aka Vizag  and Bhubaneshwar are two places, with which I have a personal connection.  Vizag is my home town, the place where I spent a good 30 yrs of my life, where I grew up, was educated, and worked for some time too. Bhubaneshwar  is where I got the first important break in my IT career, and a place where I was for 3 years before moving to Hyderabad. Both the cities separated by just around 8 hrs by road and rail,  are what the media would call as “small towns”  or “Tier II cities”.  

is the industrial hub, home to some of  India’s  largest public sector behemoths, Vizag Steel, HPCL, BHPV, Hindustan Shipyard, a place that is strategically important  due to it being the HQ of the Eastern Naval Command, a major port along the East Coast. The presence of the Naval Dockyard, Navy, and the PSU’s has ensured  a cosmopolitan mix of population in Vizag.

Bhubaneshwar  one of the older cities in India, the site of the ancient Kalinga battle, close to the world famous Konark Sun temple and Puri, now a growing IT hub, with  the top ones like Satyam, Infy, TCS already having set shop here. Add to it an educational center, with one of India’s best management colleges XIMB located here.

The article is primarily to look at the area between these two places as an opportunity for growth, not just the two cities, but also the entire stretch between them. The reason why I had picked up these two cities apart from my personal connection, is that  the entire corridor between them has a vast potential for development economically, as well as making it a tourist zone. In fact, if we actually stretch it further till Chandipur, that also includes the port of Paradip, what we are looking at here is a corridor, that for reasons best known has not really been exploited to it’s potential.


While Vizag  is an industrial giant by itself, with HPCL, BHPV, Vizag Steel  having their manufacturing units here, it is the hinterland that has the real scope for more manufacturing and industrial units. Currently  Srikakulam, Vizianagaram districts adjoining Vizag  are the most backward in Andhra Pradesh.  A significant chunk of the labor  working in the major metroes in India comes from these districts, as also  the Ganjam district  in Orissa, adjoining  these two and lying in the Vizag-Bhubaneshwar route. Take a trip on the Konark Express from Mumbai to Bhubaneshwar, around 70% of the passengers would be the labor from Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Ganjam area. It is quite a common sight, to see these villagers waiting by hordes, catching the trains to Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai  for the labor work. While Srikakulam district does have some industrial estates, both the Vizianagaram and Ganjam district have very low levels of  industrialization, barring a few places.  Even in the case of  Vizag most of the Industrial ancillary units are set up, towards the Vijawada side, there is virtually no manufacturing activity on the road towards the Srikakulam side. This entire stretch of the land between Bhubaneshwar and Vizag  has a huge scope for  industrial development,  there is a good availability of cheap, surplus labor, which in a way could also cut down the migration.  Another advantage is that  Vizag  has access  to the Iron ore mines at Kirandul, Ballaidila in Chattisgarh, through rail, that  could also cut down costs in raw material supply.  With Bhubaneshwar  not really having much industry, Vizag  could be the one driving the industrial growth here.

Potential  growth areas for industry here- Steel, Shipping( with Vizag and Paradip ports), Heavy Industry, Machinery, Fishery units.


Bhubaneshwar  already has  Infy, Satyam, TCS  quite well established here, plus a good number of  smaller, medium sized IT firms, startups.  Bhubaneshwar in fact  is seeing a large number of people, quitting their jobs in MNC’s,  coming back to their place to start their own ventures. The rather leisurely pace of life, the peaceful nature of the city, and a large educated population makes the city, an excellent prospect  for the service sector here. Vizag  itself  has HSBC’s BPO center,  plus  a good number of  smaller IT startups.  However when it comes to IT,  Bhubaneshwar has the advantage over Vizag, with more firms established in that city.  Again both the cities  have a strong banking sector, with all the major public, private sector banks located there, and also the major insurance firms in India. Another  advantage  that  the cities have for services sector is the educational infrastructure here.  Vizaghas GITAM University, Gayatri, Andhra University all of  them institutions with a proven track record, and having some excellent manpower.  Bhubaneshwar has  KIIT University, OEC, IIMB, IIT and IIIT, which makes the city a favored venue for many recruiters. Also the rather leisurely pace of life, quite atmosphere, a cosmopolitan and friendly population,  just adds to the advantages.

Potential growth areas for services here-  IT,ITES, Banking, Finance,Insurance.


This is one segment that has never been really well utilized, except in the last few years.  Consider this, the Golden triangle of Bhubaneshwar-Puri-Konark, with their ancient temples and the world class Sun Temple, not to forget the Sand Sculptures of Puri.  Puri apart from it’s beach and temple, has been hosting the Bring Your Own Film Festival for many years, a platform for indie, amateur movie makers to showcase their movies. The entire coastal stretch between Bhubaneshwar and Vizag has some of the best unspoilt beaches in the country.  The AP Tourism has done a great job in developing the tourist infrastructure in Vizag and surrounding areas. Apart from the beaches, Vizag  also the famous Borra Caves, nearby, Araku and Anantagiri, often described as the poor man’s Ooty. Add to it the historic sites of  Shalihundam, Srimukhalingam, Bobilli, Vizianagaram,  the bird sanctuary of Teli Neelapuram in Srikakulam district, the hills and waterfalls of the Eastern Ghats adjoining it. The world famous Chilika Lake, a wonderful  sight for the eyes, which needs a better tourist infrastructure,Satpada famous for it’s  dolphins. If you can stretch it up further, you have the Bhitarkanika Crocodile Sancturary, the Gahirmatha beach famous for it’s Olive Ridley turtles  in Orissa.  Beaches, hills, forests, historic sites, religious place, you have it all along this stretch which has not really been  explored to it’s potential.


Lying along the NH 5, both Vizag and Bhubaneshwar are well connected by road.  Bhubaneshwar  has excellent rail connectivity  with Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, though not many with Mumbai, except the one major train. Rail connectivity is still a bit of an issue for Vizag, not many direct trains here, towards the other cities, and more often than not getting a berth is a major problem. There has been a long standing demand for more direct trains from Vizag, but sadly no result so far.  Vizag  has a good airport well connected  to the major cities in India.  Air connectivity is still an issue with Bhubaneshwar, its strange that inspite of being a capital city, and having a good potential for tourism and IT, the city to date does not have an international airport.

It is imperative that the potential of the Vizag-Bhubaneshwar corridor is explored well. It needs to be done, to ensure more equitable development, as well as reduce the pressure on other cities. Making Vizag a future economic hub is also beneficial for Andhra Pradesh as a whole, it takes the load off Hyderabad, and in the event of Telangana being formed, would make it a prime contender for the next capital too.