Paradip: Battling the unemployment problem here will be the biggest challenge for newly elected MLA Sambit Routray as he prepares to start a new innings in politics.
Routray and all other candidates had promised employment to locals while campaigning. However, only the future can tell how Routray handles the problem of unemployment.
Unemployment is the biggest problem in Paradip which is known as the economic hub of the state. Every year around 10,000 youths register for jobs at the special employment exchange in Paradip. However, there is little scope for employment.
According to data available from the special employment exchange, 97,389 unemployed youths had registered for jobs between 2009 and 2019 March. However, only 188 have managed to get jobs. Among them, 184 received appointments in the education department while four were hired by industrial units in Paradip.
In the last 10 years, several major industries like Essar Steel, IOCL refinery and Carbon have set up plants in Paradip, but this has not brought any change in the lives of people as they continue to languish without jobs.
The state and the Centre have set rules for employment. One of them is the CNV Act-1959 (Compulsory Notification Vacancy) and other one is the ORV Act-1965 (Orissa Reservation Vacancy). However, people are not aware whether these rules are being implemented or not.
Many local people have been displaced for the establishment of industrial units in this port town.
The companies need to give 100 per cent employment to displaced residents from whom they have received lands for setting up their plants. But this never happens as the displaced residents continue to suffer without jobs.
The companies are required to recruit all staff and labourers, except first and second level officers, from the locality. Rules say that 90 per cent of third and fourth grade staff should be from the area.
A resident, Devi Prasad Sahu of Atharbanki, said these rules are never implemented. It is the duty of the elected public representatives to get these rules implemented, but they hardly care about it, he said.
Senior leader Damodar Rout who represented Paradip for the last 40 years has never intervened in this matter, he said. Damodar always tried to avoid the employment issue, he added.
Congress leader Arindam Sarkhel has managed to bring the majority of labourers to his fold by promising them employment during the last 10 years. Sarkhel had promised to give 100 persons employment from every panchayat in the constituency if he gets elected. BJP nominee Sampad Swain had also made similar promises.
There are allegations that some contractors with links to company officials hire outsiders in exchange for kickbacks. Local public representatives also close their eyes to such things as they get favours from company authorities.
When contacted, Routray said a review will be done on local representation in all companies and steps will be taken to set things right.