ROURKELA: Peeved about inordinate delay in getting employment in Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP), hundreds of left-out tribal land oustees of RSP on Monday resorted to economic blockade at Dumerta railway station here to cut off raw material supply to RSP. Normalcy restored after eight hours of protest with intervention of Rourkela ADM K Sudershan Chakravorty.
Hundreds of young land oustees of RSP under the banner of the 32 Mouza Local Displaced Persons Association squatted on the railway tracks at Dumerta station on the Bondamunda-Barsuan section of South Eastern Railway (SER) from 8 am. The agitators stopped goods trains that were carrying raw materials to the RSP or transporting finished products from the plant.
Advisory committee member of the association Rashmi Ranjan Padhi accused the RSP of deliberately delaying the issue of employment. They resorted to economic blockade as two hunger strikes in the last one year failed to evoke any response, he said.
Association president Maheswar Toppo said after a massive agitation in 2006, the district administration had invited applications from left-out displaced persons. He further said 8,006 applications were received and after scrutiny, the administration sponsored names of 146 job claimants in 2009 and 2010. Around the same time, 597 more applications were shortlisted. At three meetings held since February, 2014, the State Government has directed RSP to settle the employment issue, but the latter continued with its dilly-dallying attitude.
In fact, providing employment to fresh job claimants remains a contentious issue with the RSP considering them as third generation claimants who are extended family members of original displaced persons.
Apart from 146 sponsored names and 597 shortlisted applications, the RSP is also under pressure to abide by the 1993 decision of the Supreme Court to provide employment to 1098 displaced persons. Out of 1098 claimants, the RSP is learnt to have given employment assistance to about 730.
Rourkela ADM K Sudershan Chakravorty said the RSP has been instructed to impress upon the SAIL Board to take a final decision on the employment issue and inform the administration at the earliest.