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This is India: 24 years on, still awaiting jobs in return for land

Last updated on: April 29, 2011 08:14 IST

This is India: 24 years on, still awaiting jobs in return for land

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Twenty-four years after they gave away their only source of income -- their land -- to a state-owned corporation for public good, 139 families of a small village at Bikaner are still waiting for the jobs they were promised in return.

Now, these residents of Barsingsar village in Bikaner district, say they are left with no option but to leave their village for work to make ends meet.

The lands of some 174 families of Barsingsar village had in 1987 been acquired by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited for establishing a power project.

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The firm had in return promised to provide jobs to one member of each family to help them sustain their livelihood.

While the promise was kept to 35 families, the remaining families are still waiting for the elusive jobs, Bikaner Panchayat Samiti Pradhan Bom Raj Arya said.

He said 25 more people have appeared for interviews but they are yet to receive an offer and the other 114 families have been running from pillar to post but to no avail.

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The affected families say that neither was the job given nor did the project bring the promised development to their village and that they had no option but to move out in search of work.

While officials of Neyveli Lignite refused to comment on the issue, official sources acknowledged that under the agreement between the firm and Rajasthan government jobs had been promised.

Official sources pointed out that 25 interviews had taken place in recent times, and the 'process was on'.

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Image: A farmer and his family work at their cauliflower field amid dense fog.
Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters
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Arya said agitated families had demonstrated at the power plant to make their anger evident.

According to an agreement between the company and local representatives in August 2009, it was decided that a vocational training centre would be developed in the village besides the provision of basic facilities.

This, however, has not happened.

Village sarpanch Pabu Ram said most of the farmers of the area were now working in mills in Bikaner, and the youngsters were migrating out to look for employment.

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He said even the basic facilities like drinking water and school as promised have not come.

Bikaner Lok Sabha member of Parliament Arjun Meghwal said the resentment of the people was justified and they should be immediately given jobs.

He said the company had failed to provide the facilities promised, including a school and college, and students had to travel to Bikaner to study.


Image: A farmer carries bundles of straw amid dense fog on the outskirts of Agartala, capital of Tripura.
Photographs: Jayanta Dey/Reuters
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