The state government has chalked out plans for more lucrative packages to encourage tribals and villagers to give up their land for the country’s largest coal block project at Ducha Pachami in Birbhum district.
Officials said that the government has decided to give Rs.10,000 stipend to the jobseekers who belong to the families who have given land for the project after turning 17, and if they turn 18 after a year, they will be given jobs.
Besides, those who do not fulfill the service criteria for the posts of junior constables – physical fitness or educational qualification – will be appointed as Class IV clerks, officials said, adding that the process of allotment of these posts has already started. It is being conducted in nine sections.
However, they said that in future, only one person in the family of those who have been given land will get a job.
According to officials, up to 400 junior constables were appointed as junior constables at the beginning of the Kayalkhani project, of which 354 are undergoing training. So far, the government has identified 784 families in more than 90 villages for rehabilitation.
While recruiting a large number of candidates, the officials noticed that their educational qualifications and physical standards were not suitable for the recruitment of junior constables and decided to give them class IV clerk jobs.
Protesters said the Birbhum Jomi, Jibon, Jibika o Prakriti Banchao Mahasabha (Birbhum Mahasabha to Save Land, Life, Livelihood and Nature) has been on a fast since February 22 against the project and police brutality. They will not give their land for the project.
On December 23, protesters alleged that the police beat up several villagers, including women, who questioned the TMC’s alleged support for a rally in support of the project.
Later, on February 22, TMC supporters allegedly attacked protesters after a public meeting in Devanganj and the police registered cases against them. The agitators claimed that the thugs ransacked the houses of some of the agitators.
A delegation of protesters met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nabanna in April last year, urging her to look into their concerns and withdraw false police cases against them.
Banerjee had announced a compensation package for those displaced or affected last November and assured them that there would be no forced land acquisition like what allegedly happened in Singur in 2006 under the then Left Front government.