(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 11, 2012
ANDHRA PRADESH NEWSLETTER
Jittery Cong Govt Foists Cases
Against Left Leaders
with the prospect of a serious movement building up against
the huge burdens
being imposed on electricity consumers, the Congress
government of Andhra
Pradesh is resorting to intimidating tactics. The state CID
police filed a charge
sheet in a local court framing charges against CPI(M) Polit
Bureau member B V
Raghavulu, CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy, CPI(M)
This development comes in the midst of severe burdens being imposed on people in the form of
Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA) component in electricity bills. Over Rs 10,000 crore is sought to be collected from the people through this measure. The AP Electricity Regulatory Commission has already given permission to collect around Rs 3130 crore for the financial years 2008-09 and 2009-10. A few days ago the APERC has cleared the power utilities request to collect Rs 1700 crore as FSA for the first quarter of the present financial year. The impact of this measure has begun to be felt by the consumers whose bills almost doubled. The FSA is being collected citing higher fuel costs incurred by power producers due to imported coal or gas, which is in severe shortage due to fall in Reliance KG Basin production. This FSA is nothing but transfer of money from people’s pockets to private power companies of corporates such as Lanco, GVK etc. (see People’s Democracy August 5, 2012 issue for details)
In this context, the Left parties have embarked on a joint movement against these unbearable burdens being imposed on people. Recently they held a state-level convention to chalk out the programme of agitation. It was decided to hold conventions/seminars up to mandal level propagating the real reasons behind this imposition of FSA and demanding the government to stop collecting these amounts. They have also called for protest actions in all 295 constituency centres in the state. Even the industry chambers have protested the imposition of burdens as many small and medium industries, which are already reeling under severe power cuts, are now shutting shop unable to bear the burden. With the electricity bills reflecting the FSAs reaching them, the people have started feeling the burden and are becoming receptive to hear the real reasons for such hikes.
With the movement against electricity burdens set to gain strength in the coming period, the state government has resorted to this act of intimidation by filing charge sheet against main leaders of the Left parties. Reacting to this development, CPI(M) state secretariat member Y Venkateshwara Rao said it is up to the Congress party to clarify why such a charge sheet is being filed after 12 years. He condemned framing of charges against top leaders of the Left parties and asserted that the Left would not be cowed down by such intimidatory tactics. CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy said the Left parties are not afraid of such cases and made it clear that they would not seek withdrawal of the cases. He demanded that charges of murder must be brought against police officers responsible for the death of three protesters on that day.
K Jana Reddy, who was home minister in the Congress government led by late Y S Rajashekar Reddy, had publicly stated in 2004 that the new Congress government has decided to drop all charges relating to Basheerbagh firing incidents. Asked for his reaction to the CID chargesheet, he said he does not remember whether he assured withdrawal of all charges or not. He refused to comment about the motive behind the chargesheet being filed now.
After the electricity bills shocker, the people are bracing for further blows in the form of doubling of property tax rates, higher water bills etc. It appears the state government is gearing up to clamp down on the protests that are sure to snowball into a powerful movement led by the Left parties in the coming period.
ALL INDIA GENERAL STRIKE
A state level convention of trade unions was held in Hyderabad on November 7 which gave a call to the working class of the state to make success the two day all India general strike on February 20 and 21, 2013. The central trade unions have called for the two day strike to protest against the UPA-II government’s anti-worker and pro-corporate policies.
Addressing the convention, AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said that the UPA-II government is insensitive to the sufferings of working people despite lakhs of them showing their protest against ruinous policies by participating in successive strikes. “The prime minister has time to discuss with Vijay Mallya about saving his airline Kingfisher but sadly he does not have any time to discuss about the problems of workers.” He highlighted the increasing unity among the central trade unions over the past few years on issues facing the working class.
CITU secretary S Veeraiah in his speech said both the central and state governments are implementing World Bank dictated policies that were only benefiting large corporates and financial speculators while at the same time heaping greater burdens on working people. The governments were sabotaging the already weak legislations to protect workers’ interests in order to bestow greater benefits to corporates. The way the governments responded to workers agitations in Gurgaon or in Yanam were a pointer to their attitude towards working class. He called for making a grand success of the two day general strike.
INTUC president G Sanjeeva Reddy said it was a welcome development that all central trade unions have come on one platform and called for the general strike. He wanted this unity to be continued in the future. He told the gathering that discussions are on with the two main unions in Railways to make them join the general strike. BMS president Sajji Narayana, HMS state president N Narasimha Reddy and leaders of central and state government employees also addressed the convention.