Laying the foundation stone for setting up two factories for manufacturing electric and diesel engine components here on Saturday, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee promised to generate more than one lakh direct as well as indirect jobs in the units for local youth.

Addressing a cheering crowd, she said: “The factories will change the face of Dankuni once they are completed within the next three years.

Several ancillary industries will also come up and the region will witness a new dawn of industrialisation.”

Near Singur site

Ironically, the projects are coming up just 25 km from the Singur site, where Tata Motors’ small car factory was scheduled to come up. But 14 months ago, the Nano project was shifted to Sanand in Gujarat, following a prolonged agitation by Ms. Banerjee against the alleged forcible acquisition of farmland for the plant.

The twin projects were announced by Ms. Banerjee in the Railway Budget 2009-10 and an estimated cost of Rs. 110 crore has been sanctioned by the Railway Ministry.

The factories will manufacture components and sub-assemble ‘Electromotive Division locomotives’ for the Chittaranjan Locomotive at Chittaranjan and the Diesel Locomotive Works here.

Reiterating that the Railways were opposed to forcible acquisition of land for projects and that the organisation had sufficient land on hand, she pointed out that at Dankuni, it had 500 acres out of the nationwide 1.13-lakh acre land bank.

Ms. Banerjee highlighted the prospect of industrial, automobile and logistics hubs coming up on both sides of the proposed Eastern Freight Corridor between Howrah and Ludhiana with Dankuni as one of the major centres en route.

Pointing out the ‘backlog’ in railway jobs, she said the Railways would set up a training institute here so that annually about 1,000 students could be trained and direct placements given.

“I have already ordered that 1,100 apprentices be made permanent. We are also in the process of manning the 16,000 unmanned level-crossings across the country which will again generate as many jobs.”