At least 140 families from Kattupalli Kuppam in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvallur district, who were displaced in 2009 due to a project to build a shipyard and a port, are still awaiting for the permanent jobs they were promised.
To bring an end to their problem, members of the affected families and a group of senior citizens have petitioned Chief Minister M.K. Stalin.
Following their displacement, the families, who earned their livelihood by fishing in the deep sea, were provided housing at a place that was some 2 km away from the nearest beach.
Even though the company, which was incharge of the project, had assured in writing that one member of the family would be provided a permanent job, but to no avail.
They were given appointments on a temporary basis and were trained and given jobs in welding, fitting and crane operation.
One such displaced person, Sajith Lal told IANS: “We were promised permanent jobs by the company and the district administration had endorsed it. Presently each of us is getting a meager salary of Rs 16,000, while those doing the same job and who are permanently employed are getting thrice of our salary along with other benefits.”
Sajith said that the workers, including him, are on strike since February but the company and the district administration are not listening to them.
Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) also did not hear them properly and has not brought out a solution to their woes, the affected family members said.
Social activists, who have taken up the cause, said that a cooperative society of the workers was formed in 2014 at the insistence of the company and the government and the workers are employed through this society.
Speaking to IANS, C. Rajeev, Director, Centre for Policy and Development Studies who is closely monitoring the development, said: “The government should not shy away from this and take up the matter with the concerned company and the rights of the ports are now with another company.
“Whoever is the owner of the company, the government, and the Tiruvallur district administration have a commitment to the fishermen and must provide all necessary support for at least one member of the fishermen’s family at Kattupalli Kuppam to be given permanent employment.
“We are taking up the matter with the state government and the Union Shipping Ministry regarding this issue.”