Trinamool Congress boss and former railway minister Mamata Banerjee’s job-for-land offer has not only attracted more than two lakh in West Bengal alone, but also delayed the inauguration of the railway coach factory at Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency in Rae Bareli.
Although 18 coaches are ready for rollout, the fear of triggering an unmanageably long queue of dispossessed farmers led to repeated postponements of the inauguration date.
Banerjee’s guidelines, formulated in 2010, however, do not apply to the Rae Bareli coach factory. The rules say the job-far-land offer does not apply where the land has been acquired before the policy was formulated.
But Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief and former UP chief minister Mayawati earlier tried to steal the thunder from Gandhi by raking up the compensation issue — something that is still weighing on the minds of officials who don’t want Gandhi to face an uncomfortable situation in Rae Bareli.
Even as Railway Board officials struggle with implementing the policy, the issue has affected other ministries and departments as well, including the National Highways Authority of India and the finance ministry. The NHAI and finance ministry officials have been persuading the Railways to withdraw the order.
Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal attempted to hammer out the procedures for implementing the policy at a meeting with the Kolkata-based Eastern Railways officials on Tuesday.