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Singur locals look at alternative means of employment

Tamajit Pain  |  Kolkata/ Singur 

Singur, once the site for agitation over the Tata Motors small car project, is a busy sight today.
People, who were thus far engaged in tilling the fertile land, are now developing new skill-sets. They have lost land and are now looking at alternative means of employment.
Though there have been no job assurances from Tata Motors, the company is offering multifarious job opportunities with support from the West Bengal government.
With the help of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), a list of people, who have lost land for the project, has been prepared. Unskilled workers are being utilised in the construction of boundary walls, landscaping and guarding the area.
Some land losers, who have little knowledge of handling money doled out as compensation, have formed syndicates headed by technically sound people. There are basically two types of syndicates. Most of them are engaged in supply of materials and labour, said a Tata Motor official.
Shapoorji Pallonji group, which is constructing the mother plant, has been asked to engage as many local people instead of bringing in people from other areas.
Semi skilled workers were divided into separate groups for training into different kinds of initiatives.
Tata Motors has already trained some 15 women in catering service. These women, mostly housewives, are being taught different cuisines, including Chinese and South Indian, apart from accounts management for their business.
The group has formed a self-help group "Friends Kitchen", aimed at catering to the people engaged in the project.
"We are earning a profit of around Rs 500 every day. It gets distributed among members. As the number of people working in the area increases we hope to reap in more benefits," says Banani Ghosh, a housewife in Gopalnagar village, which falls in the project area.
Ghosh is the president of Friends Kitchen.
Tata Motors has handpicked some of the people who have completed middle school for training in Jamshedpur. Around 176 people have been trained in Ramakrishna Mission. Once fully trained, these people would be capable of working in the modern state-of-the-art paint shop and finishing line to be set up in the small car plant.
Efforts were being made to ensure that some of them may be engaged by the vendors, who would set up their operations. Some of the housewives have been engaged tailoring activities with the support of WBIDC and the Singer group. These group would mostly be engage in stitching of uniforms for the workers in the plant.
Apparel Training Development Centre (ATDC) under the Union government would also impart a training course to the women and housewives in the area on garment making. These garments would be in high demand once the plant becomes operational.
Further, Tata Motors would shortly enter into an agreement with WBIDC, and the state department of technical education to shortlist some Industrial Training Institutes in and around the Hooghly for imparting skill sets required for working in auto plants.
Once the plant becomes operational economic activities would further pick up, Tata Motors officials admitted. The company hopes to complete the plinth level work by June before the monsoon sets in.


First Published: Wed, April 04 2007. 00:00 IST