New Delhi: The Land Acquisition Ordinance can jeopardise the prospects of the ₹80,000-crore dedicated rail freight corridor project as land owners want permanent jobs instead of compensation.
The project, which is set to be a game changer for the rail transportation network in the country, is facing this issue in certain areas where it requires land.
“We have started seeing cases of land owners demanding permanent employment,” Adesh Sharma, Managing Director, Dedicated Rail Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL), told.
Thankfully, DFCCIL has already acquired 84 per cent of the land for the Eastern and Western Corridor. “Specifically, it is at 79 per cent in Eastern corridor and 88 per cent in the Western corridor,” Sharma said. But the project is yet to get possession of about 16 per cent of the land required.
The Ordinance talks about three choices in resettlement and rehabilitation — either pay a lump sum, or make monthly payments for 15 years, or offer jobs.
This clause can potentially impact other rail line and highway projects as well, industry observers said.
DFCCIL, by its nature, is not creating permanent jobs on a mass scale.
The pace of work on the corridors has accelerated manifold in the past six months. “Earlier, in the Khurja-Kanpur stretch of Eastern corridor, we used to spend about ₹30 crore a month, which is up now to ₹100 crore a month.” said Sharma.
Similarly, Rewari-Palanpur (625 km length), work is in full swing. “Now, we have started daily monitoring of projects. When I started, earthwork progress was 5,000 cubic metres per day, now it has become 80,000 cubic metres per day (up 16 times),” added Sharma.