Three big-ticket railway projects,whose combined cost is more than Rs 5,000 crore,have hit a logjam as those from whom Indian Railways had acquired land for these projects are now demanding railway jobs in return,citing a policy rolled out by former railway minister Mamata Banerjee.
Coach factories in Rae Bareli in UP and Marhaura in Bihar and a wheel factory in Bihars Chapra are stuck even though Mamatas novel policy is applicable only to land acquisitions that took place since 2010,long after after these projects were approved.
Officials said that the issue is now holding up the commissioning of the plants in Rae Bareli and Chapra,which are ready to roll.
Putting Railways in a spot,land-losers from these places have also been placing their demands before their respective Members of Parliament and other local leaders,who in turn have been forwarding the requests to Roy during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament. MPs from BJP and RJD,too,have recently met Roy with this request.
The political pressure notwithstanding,the problem before Roy now is that the job for land policy,devised in 2010,cannot be applicable retrospectively because it expressly supersedes all instructions on this subject in the past.
The Rae Bareli plant has been set up at a cost of Rs 1600 crore,while the Chapra wheel plant has a capital investment of over Rs 1400 crore,and the diesel engine factory in Marhaura for around Rs 2000 crore.
Compounding Railways problem,the same demand has appeared from some parts in West Bengal as well.
Officials said that making an exception for these projects opens the possibility of all past land-losers approaching the Railways for jobs.
The jobs provided in this category are in the pay band of Rs 5,200-20,200 with grade pay of Rs 1800.
Either the land owner or his spouse or children are considered in the screening for the job application.