KOLKATA, 13 DEC: State housing minister Mr Gautam Deb may be claiming to have generated jobs for 27,000 landlosers in Rajarhat, but the farmers feel cheated as they believe neither will their sons get the promised jobs in the IT companies mushrooming there, nor will they find a place in the syndicates and their women would prefer to die of hunger than serve as maids in the houses of the babus.
The farmers feel that the assurance given by the state housing minister that industries would come up in the project and land donors would get jobs in those factories has turned out to be a hoax.
“Where are the industries? Only residential apartments are coming up here,” says Khogendra Mondal, showing Simplex apartments built on the land that once belonged to him. He now owns a small eatery to eke out a living.
Sheikh Alam Hazra (26), son of a landloser in Jatragachi mouza, was recruited at a BPO in Salt Lake. He was sacked a month later for not being able to speak fluent English. On being told that the minister’s project would generate jobs for thousands of youth in the area, he said: “Youth from other states would also come to work there. Does he expect us to match their fluency in English? Where are schools that would make our children at par with them?”
When Sapan Mondol (31) of Patharghata mouza was told about the minister’s promise that landlosers would have the opportunity to form syndicates, he looked askance and said, “One qualifies to form a syndicate only if he is a CPI-M supporter. What will happen to us when the project ends?”
The land acquisition has made Abdul Rahim Mollah (59) who used to make manure in the Baliguri mouza jobless. He said his three-crop land was declared barren by the housing department. Those who owned dhankols, sprayed fertilisers and supplied water to the land are now out of jobs. Those who took others’ land on lease to till have now nowhere to go.
Hasina Bibi (52) and other women in her locality in Chhapna mouza make incense sticks, a kilogram of which sells for Rs 12. She took up the work after her husband became a landloser. “Does the minister expect us to serve as maids in the residential flats being made for the babus?” she asks.