Jagdishpur wants Rahul to do a Rajiv
Twenty five years ago, they were promised a new dawn of jobs and development by their MP Rajiv Gandhi, and now people here want their candidate Rahul to revive the lost dream of his father.india Updated: Apr 18, 2009 01:14 IST
Twenty five years ago, they were promised a new dawn of jobs and development by their MP Rajiv Gandhi, and now people here want their candidate Rahul to revive the lost dream of his father.
People in Jagdishpur had offered land at throw-away prices for factories to be set up as Rajiv Gandhi promised industrialisation in the region.
Around 300 industries had come up in the area as they were given special incentives on land and bank loans. However, Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1991 marked tough times for these units and most of them shut shop.
Most of the villagers, who had earlier sold their land, did not get the promised employment. Moreover, with the closure of factories, subsidiary employment was also affected.
"The shops on both sides of roads used to be crowded with customers two decades ago. Now, even though the number of shops is much less, sales are low," says Hazi Sabir Ali, who runs a sweet shop in front of a BHEL factory.
Some people had to leave homes in search of livelihood after factories like Malvika Steel, Surya Saltech, Arif Cement, JCI Cement, Dalda, Sona Bread and few paper mills closed down. Only few like Indo-Gulf, BHEL, Wype, Quality Packaging and ECL Mining survived.
"Rajiv ji wanted to make Amethi a city of development (Vikas ki Nagari). Hence people gave their land happily. They believed the area would develop. However, as the major factories closed down, their ancillaries also packed off," says local youth Mahtab Ali.
"More than fifty regular employees finally migrated to cities like Kanpur, Lucknow, Delhi and Surat. Maximum people had gone to Surat to work in textile mills there," says the head of the village, Kamrouli Bande Hassan, who is also an INTUC leader.
However, a ray of hope has finally surfaced, with SAIL taking over the closed Malvika Steel Plant at a cost of Rs 510 crore.
Villagers are optimistic that the step could mark the process of industrialisation again and hope that their MP, Rahul Gandhi, who they think has made it possible can take the industrialisation process forward.
Gulam Sarwar of Madhupur village, who had gone to Maharashtra to work as a labourer after Malvika Steel closed down, has come back to Amethi with hopes of regaining his job after SAIL took over the factory, which was inaugurated two months ago.
The list of achievements during Rahul Gandhi's five-year term as the MP, too, features the takeover of Malvika Steel by SAIL as well as the establishment of few new industries.
Rajiv Gandhi had won from Amethi in 1984 after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination and then again in 1989. Sonia Gandhi had won the seat in the 1999 Lok Sabha election while Rahul won the seat in 2004 and is seeking a re-election this time.
However, expectations from Rahul build up as people are now looking for the return of the Rajiv days. "The Nehru-Gandhi family has done so much for us. And we believe Rahul will change the whole scenario. He had promised to get the Malvika Steel factory re-started and he did it," says 60-year-old Akhtar Ali at Jagdishpur.
However, concerns remain that locals may not get jobs even if the factory is re-opened.
"Rajiv ji had ensured that locals were employed at least in the worker category in Indo Gulf and BHEL. But gradually locals were removed from other factories. That needs to be looked into," says Ahmad Ali.