(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 22, 2012
RIGHT TO FOOD
BDO Gheraoed in Jharkhand
AS part of the national campaign for right to food, more than 2000 supporters of the CPI(M), led by its Polit Bureau member Comrade Brinda Karat and CPI(M) state and district level leaders, gheraoed the Ratu block development officer (BDO) in Ranchi dJharkhand to press various demands related to the public distribution system (PDS).
People who joined the action were mostly women who shouted slogans and complained regarding issues ranging from not having been issued ration cards to not getting ration.
After huge protest by the angry crowd, the district collector and BDO assured that their grievances will be looked into and immediate action will be taken within a month. Karat said, “We were determined that unless our demands are met, we will not leave the place come what may. However, the collector has assured so the people are giving them a chance. If they fail, we will not hesitate to surround the place again.”
The BDO immediately prepared a list with details of people who were not issued cards. “District collector has assured that a committee will be formed which will scrutinise the names given in the list which has been prepared today and will be provided the cards within a month,” promised Ravindra Kumar, BDO, in front of the crowd.
The gherao, which started after a public rally, started at 2 p m and lasted for more than four hours.
Earlier, Brinda Karat addressed a public rally near the BDO office, where she slammed the Congress government at the centre and BJP government in the state for failing to provide foodgrains to the needy in Jharkhand. “It is shocking that eight crore tonnes of food grains are rotting but our central government is reluctant to distribute it to poor people who are dying of hunger,” said Karat.
In Jharkhand, more than 50 per cent of the poor are being denied BPL cards. It is a food deficit state and there is a huge shortfall of foodgrains as the centre’s allocation is not adequate.
She also said that there is a need to have a universal PDS as the Planning Commission’s criteria of poverty are absurd.
Addressing the crowd, state secretariat member Sudhir Das said, “The Jharkhand government must understand that people are reeling under poverty and they must be provided Rs 35 kg foodgrains every month for Re 1.”
Apart from Brinda Karat, other local leaders including Manju Munda, Vinod Tirey, Panua Gorait and Viren Sahu spoke at the rally.
The rally is part of the national campaign of the Left parties, in which the CPI(M) is taking out rallies from the block to the state level because of the refusal of the government to bring a universal PDS in the proposed food security bill, and to increase the allocations at subsidised prices for all people as an immediate measures.
The demands of the national campaign include the following:
1) PDS for all irrespective for BPL-APL division.
2) 35 kg of foodgrains every month at Re 1 per kg to all families in Jharkhand.
3) Scrapping of the Planning commission’s bogus poverty estimates for welfare schemes.
4) Implementation of the Swaminathan commission’s recommendations for fair prices and profit margins for farmers.