Kujang: Farmers displaced for establishment of Indian Oil Corporation’s oil refinery at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district have been given a raw deal in employment in the project as outsiders grab the majority of posts.
As many as 1,752 families living in 16 revenue mouzas have handed over 3,345 acres of farmland for setting up of the project.
However, they have been left high and dry after the refinery authorities ignored their demands for jobs; instead IOC has appointed outsiders from states like Bihar and West Bengal.
The issue has remained unresolved till now although the state government has identified the land losers and submitted a list to the oil refinery authorities for employment. However, they continue to neglect their demand for jobs.
The affected 1,752 families launched an agitation for 10 days from the second week of this month protesting the appointment of outsiders through backdoor in various maintenance companies of the refinery. Among them, 24 farmers even launched a fast-unto-death protest.
A tripartite meeting comprising farmers, the district administration and company authorities was held but failed to resolve their demands.
The refinery authorities agreed for talks and appeared before the Kujang tehsildar after the agitators threatened to stage hartal outside the refinery’s main gate and its office at Bhubaneswar.
A tripartite meeting was held Wednesday at the tehsildar’s office but the refinery’s two officers NR Pattnaik and GK Sahu had failed to give an exact list of appointment of land losers in the project except giving some verbal clarification.
The inability of the refinery authorities in giving details of the residents appointed in the project surprised Jagatsinghpur sub-collector and Paradip ADM present at the meeting.
When contacted, tehsildar Basudev Satapathy said the refinery authorities had failed to submit a list of employees in the refinery. Farmers’ leader Prakash Chandra Tripathy alleged the refinery authorities are giving preference to outsiders in employment under the protection of political and trade union leaders.
This has come at a time when the Union ministers visiting the state claim that the Centre is showering funds on the state under various schemes for its development and accuse the BJD government of siphoning off Central funds.
However, the reality is otherwise as the state is deprived of various Central schemes after the Narendra Modi-led NDA government came to power at the Centre.
It was then expected that the land losers would get employment when a public sector oil refinery was established at Paradip. The expectation is more as an Oriya person is heading the Union Oil Ministry.
However, their hopes were shattered after the oil refinery came up at Paradip. The Union government, betraying the hopes and aspirations of scores of Oriyas, gave appointment to outsiders in the oil refinery instead of the locals.
The Paradip oil refinery, touted as the biggest in the country, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 7, 2016. PNN