After a telephonic call from Congress president Sonia Gandhi, railway minister Mukul Roy has directed the Railway Board to explore the possibility of providing jobs to individuals who surrendered land for railway projects even before July 16, 2010 — when the Railways announced its policy of absorbing dispossessed land owners into government jobs.
The railway coach factory in Gandhi's constituency of Rae Bareli is ready for production, but commercial rollout of coaches has been held up reportedly due to continual demands for government jobs from dispossessed land owners.
During Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee’s term as the railway minister, the Railways had announced its commitment to provide jobs to one member of each family that surrendered land for its projects. The guidelines do not technically apply to the Rae Bareilly coach factory because the 2010 rules are not applicable retrospectively.
Individuals, who surrendered land before the policy came into effect, are not covered under the job-for-land scheme.
As many as 600 families of dispossessed land owners at Rae Bareli are reportedly not covered under the 2010 guidelines. The 2010 policy — formulated during Mamata Banerjee's tenure as the railway minister — had opened up a Pandora's box of sorts, with demands for jobs erupting from different quarters.
A BJP delegation led by Rajiv Pratap Rudy met the railway minister on Wednesday to demand government jobs for 400 families who had surrendered land for the wheel factory at Chapra in Bihar. Similar demands are understood to have come from dispossessed land owners for the railway factory at Marhoura. In both the cases, land for the project was acquired before the Railways announced its job-for-land policy.
In West Bengal, while persons who lost land for the new Dankuni-Phurphwasharif line were provided jobs, those who suffered a similar fate due to a railway project in an adjoining area were not covered under the policy. “There are inconsistencies in the scheme. Jobs have been given to the pre-2010 losers of land in some cases. In some cases, these claims have been ignored,” Rudy told HT.