The local member of Parliament and SAD candidate for the parliamentary constituency Harsimrat Kaur Badal has been repeatedly claiming credit for the setting up of 2,000-mw thermal power plant in Banawali village of Mansa district and the Rs. 2,000-crore oil refinery in Rama Mandi here during her election campaign.
She has been wooing the unemployed youth saying she has brought lakhs of jobs in these units for the unemployed. However, the reality is otherwise. Records show that the power plant and the oil refinery and even textile units have not employed skilled manpower.
In political terms, the oil refinery had to provide employment to lakhs of youth, but it has employed only 2,000 people and majority of them are from outside the state.
Dr Sanjeev Kumar Agarwal, looking after the placement cell of Giani Zail Singh colleges, confirmed that the college has not received any job requirement either from Banawali thermal power plant or the oil refinery.
He, however, said that Ludhiana was still the best destination for engineering students of the textile trade.
On the other hand, a textile park in Malwa has remained a poll promise for the last one decade.
Harvinder Singh, who has been looking after the placement cell at the ITI here, said that Gurgaon is the best destination for skilled engineers produced here.
"There is hardly any scope for skilled workers in Bathinda. A few of the textile units running here are happy to employ uneducated workers from villages and the educated skilled workers only find some work in textile units of Barnala and Ludhiana. Otherwise, there is no industry in Punjab where we can send our students," said Harvinder.
He said that he had visited the oil refinery many a time to look for some scope for skilled workers but in vain. The ITI has also not got any job requirement from the power plant. In fact, there is hardly any communication between the industry and the government institutions.
Government records claim that nearly 3,400 people have got employment in the organised private sector during the last five years in Bathinda district. However, majority of these are migrants.
The 5,000-strong Linemen Union in Punjab, demanding jobs in the public power sector, is up against the government for the past four years.
"There is no job in the new power plants across Punjab. They only hire people from other states. They hardly employ Punjabis. There is no lineman who has got the job at the new power plant in my knowledge," said Jeevan Singh, a leader of the linemen.
There are nearly 7 lakh voters between 20 to 40 in Bathinda and Mansa. The employment generation department has registered 12,000 skilled unemployed only in Bathinda district.