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A Century of Trust

The story of Tata Steel is a century old... The saga, which started in 1907, completed a century of trust in 2007 and carries on.

It was the vision of a positive change that led Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata to pave the path for industrialisation in India. He firmly believed that only steel could fuel the country’s industrial and economic independence. In his lifetime J.N. Tata was driven by three guiding stars - building an iron and steel company, generating hydro-electric power and creating an institution that would offer the best-in-class education in science.

 

Jamsetji had been pursuing the dream of setting up a steel plant in India since 1882. In 1902, he travelled to Pittsburgh to seek the help of geologist Charles Page Perin to identify a site rich in resources such as iron and coal, to build India's first steel plant. The search started at Chanda, in the place that is now Madhya Pradesh, but unfortunately, the project did not succeed.

On 24th February, 1904, J.N. Tata received a letter from renowned geologist P.N. Bose stating the discovery of rich deposits of iron ore around Gorumahisani Hills in the state of Mayurbhanj, along with the mention of availability of coal and limestone in the nearby districts of Jharia and Raniganj. Following this letter, Srinivas Rao, an assistant to experts Weld and Perin, was sent to the site to confirm Bose's findings. Finally, iron ore with high iron content of 60% was discovered in the region. This discovery marked the beginning of the nation's history of steel manufacturing.

 

The Tatas and their foreign expert advisors visited the areas and selected the village Kalimati, as the site of the plant. In December 1907, the explorers found their way to Sakchi - at the confluence of the rivers Subarnarekha and Kharkai. On 27th February 1908, when the first stake was driven into the soil of Sakchi, the dream had come alive.

When Tata Iron and Steel Co. issued shares on 26th August 1907, for the first time in the financial history of the country, the people of India joined hands to put up the first truly Indian enterprise. The Tata family contributed the remaining 11% shares of the Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited.

 

In 1908 the Steel Plant became functional and in 1909 the blast furnaces, steel furnaces, coke ovens, powerhouse and machine shops were laid down. Land for the site, mines and quarries were acquired in 1910. When the first steel ingot was rolled on 16th February 1912, it marked a momentous day in the history of industrial India.

Tata Steel obtained its first colliery in 1910, adding six more in course of time. Several mines were spread over the states of Bihar, Orissa and Karnataka. The Coal Beneficiation Plant at West Bokaro undertook beneficiation of low-grade coal, thus helping in the conservation of the fast dwindling resources of high quality coal.

 

In 1919, Sakchi was renamed Jamshedpur and Kalimati became Tatanagar. The model town of Jamshedpur proudly bears the Founder's name and is one of the greenest and most well-planned cities in India.

When the entire world was reeling in the Great Depression, the Tatas survived and supplied nearly three-fourth of the country's steel requirements. By the Second World War, Tatas' production capacities had expanded enough to make their prices lower than that of steel produced in England, consolidating their position among frontrunners.

 

Post-Independence, the much-required steel for the newly devised Five-year Plans came from the Tata factories. The Company supplied the steel required to build the Howrah Bridge in Calcutta, the Bhakra-Nangal Project and the Damodar Valley Corporation, the port at Kandla, the city of Chandigarh and many more important projects.

Tata Steel was the first employer to introduce the 8-hour working day (1912), free medical aid (1915), workers' provident fund scheme (1920) and many other welfare schemes even before they were introduced in the West. The "employee association with management" programme initiated in 1956 gave the workers a stronger voice in the affairs of the Company.

 

The first modernisation drive came with the completion of the 2 million-tonne programme in 1958-59. Launched in the year 1951, it was with this programme that Tata Steel became the largest producer of crude steel in the country. The year 1958 also saw the Company celebrating its golden jubilee.

An extensive technological overhaul, several improvement projects, optimising IT support and a strong customer-centric approach were all instrumental in finding the right direction for changing outlooks. At the turn of the millennium, Tata Steel emerged as a strong entity in the global steel industry.

 

Tata Steel started its operations in South East Asia in 2004 with investments in NatSteel Holdings and Millennium Steel (now Tata Steel Thailand). A series of joint ventures and mergers that followed found a peak when Corus joined the Tata Steel family in April 2007 to form Tata Steel Europe, one of the world’s largest steelmaking companies.

Over the last century, Tata Steel has emerged as the world's most respected and successful steel manufacturing entity and it continues to hold a prominent position among the leading global steel companies. Guided by the vision of value creation for all stakeholders and a total commitment to ethical business practices since inception, the Company upholds an enduring legacy of sustainability, trust and continuous improvement. The incessant passion of its Founder to become a global steel industry benchmark is carried forward with similar zeal through the Group's management and a team of 80,000 employees. Accomplishing goals with every step, Tata Steel continues on its journey of excellence.