Orissa is a state located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It was established on 1 April 1936 as a province in British India, and consists, predominantly of Oriya speakers. 1 April is therefore celebrated as Utkal Divas (Orissa Day).
Orissa is home to the Hirakud Dam, one of the longest dams in the world. 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 of Puri, the Sun Temple of Konark and the Barabati Fort of Cuttack are important in the archaeological history of India.
Orissa is the ninth largest state by area (about 60,000 sq. miles) and the eleventh largest by population (about 37 million as per 2001 census). Oriya is the official and most widely spoken language. Orissa has abundant natural reources and a large coastline of 480 km long. The state has one fifth of India's coal, a quarter of its iron ore, a third of its bauxite and most of its chromite. Orissa was the first state in India to privatise the electricity transmission and distribution businesses.
The government of India has selected the coastal region of Orissa, stretching from Paradip in the north to Gopalpur in the South, to be developed into one of five or six Special Economic Regions (SER) of the country.The government of India and the state government of Orissa are working together to erect world-class infrastructure in this region to match that of Rotterdam, Houston and Pudong. A recent Morgan Stanley report forecasts that Orissa would be floded with massive investments for manufacturing related activities in the same manner that Bangalore had attracted software investments in 1990s. The scale of the investments in Orissa would, however, be much higher. As of July 2006, the total planned investment in the state is $90 billion. This includes investments in research, education, hospitals, roads, ports, airports and hotels.
It is estimated that international investments and collaborations in all the above areas including Clean Energy, Waste Management, Infrastructure Development, Irrigation & Rain Water Management and Food Processing will pour into the state of Orissa during the next five years.