On October 7, a 25-year-old contractual employee of NTPC Dadri, Neeraj Sisodia, set himself ablaze outside the gate after he was fired by the contractor. Sisodia was the elder brother of one of the juveniles accused of lynching Mohammad Akhlaq (50) in Dadri’s Bisara village in 2015. The immolation incident has prompted the local BJP MLA to ask the NTPC to employ Neeraj’s brother and other youth from Bisara. Meanwhile, Akhlaq’s son waits for a government job promised two years ago.
“A juvenile, who is accused in the case, has been working as a contractual employee at the NTPC. His brother, Neeraj, was also working at a similar post… A day after Neeraj’s death, our local MLA promised we will get jobs at NTPC as contractual employees,” said another juvenile accused in the case, who was released last year.
BJP MLA, Tejpal Nagar, denied any knowledge of Sisodia’s brother being an accused in the lynching case. Maintaining that he had assured the youth of Bisara of getting contract jobs at the NTPC, he said: “Neeraj was the son of Om Kumar. I do not know who his younger brother is.”
He added, “Neeraj worked as a helper at NTPC. He has left behind a daughter who is a year old. Because there is anger among residents, I asked NTPC to ensure his wife gets a contract job at a school. Like many residents of Bisara and neighbouring villages, Neeraj’s family had given land to NTPC when it was being built. They should also be given compensation. I have spoken to NTPC about the employment of eight to10 youth from the village. All are contractual and not government jobs.”
Sixty kilometres away from Dadri, Akhlaq’s younger son, Mohammad Danish, still awaits a government job which had been promised to him by then UP CM Akhilesh Yadav. “We have received the monetary compensation and housing. The CM, at that time, had said once Danish recuperates, he will be given a government job based on his qualifications. There has been no progress so far,” Jaan Mohammad, Akhlaq’s younger brother, said.
An NTPC spokesperson said employing youth from neighbouring areas as contract employees is “a routine exercise”. “At NTPC, Dadri, there are about 200-300 contractual employees. Their contracts vary from a period of six months to a year or two years. The local youth are hired through a contractor, in this case an MLA. However, proper verification of all employees are carried out,” he said.
Gautam Buddh Nagar district police, meanwhile, said they received a complaint in the immolation incident and registered an FIR against the contractor. “However, by evening, there was some compromise between the two parties. Neeraj had allegedly misbehaved, following which he had been fired,” an officer said. SP R A Suniti said, “An FIR was registered and an investigation is underway.”