People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 23, 2006
Left Parties Activists Court Arrest
In Delhi Against Price Rise
CARRYING festoons and banners more than two thousand activists belonging to CPI(M), CPI, RSP and AIFB held a protest demonstration at parliament street against sky rocketing prices of essential commodities on July 19, 2006. They later courted arrest.
The activists had earlier assembled at Jantar Mantar and then marched through Sansad Marg. They were stopped near Parliament Street police station where a public meeting was held. Among those who addressed the meeting included Brinda Karat, MP and Polit Bureau member of CPI(M), Jogendra Sharma, central committee member, CPI(M), D Raja, secretary, CPI, Gurudas Dasgupta, MP and secretary, CPI, Devarajan, secretary AIFB, and Asit Ganguly, central committee member, RSP.
The speakers strongly castigated the anti-people policies of the UPA government and demanded that prices of all essential commodities be reduced immediately. They further demanded an end to forward trading in essential commodities. They said that the prices have further risen because of successive rise in prices of petrol and diesel and demanded complete rollback of the recent hike and reduction in taxation of petroleum products. They demanded action against the hoarders.
The speakers also reminded that it was the NDA government which had diluted Essential Commodities Act by removing several items from its purview which strengthened the hoarding of these items causing rise in prices. They also said it was during NDA regime that the public distribution system was brought to ruination. They reminded the government that the common minimum progamme was to address these issues by promising to improve and strengthen PDS, increase procurement by government by providing minimum support price for the farmers. They expressed their anguish that the UPA government has not fulfilled its promises and rather has failed the expectations of the common people. They called upon the people to further intensify their struggle.
RALLIES HELD THROUGHOUT BENGAL
RALLIES were held throughout Bengal under the aegis of the Bengal Left Front to condemn the rampant rise in the prices of essential commodities. Addressing a well-attended central rally held in Kolkata, Left Front chairman and state secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) Biman Basu was critical of the union government for remaining a silent spectator even as the market was being taken over by hoarders and speculators.
Biman Basu said that prices of such common commodities as vegetables, pulses, and rice were on the rise, and continuously. Inflation has gone up belying the claim made by the UPA leaders, and so has the price level, immiserising the people, especially the poor.
Assured the UPA government that the Left would be vocal in and out of parliament chastising the price rise. He called upon the union government to put in place effective measures to check the runaway price rise immediately. The CPI(M) leader said that the issue would also be taken up in the Bengal assembly, the budget session of which was going on.
Calling for a strengthening of the public distribution system Basu said that monitoring was essential in the task of preventing traders of a certain kind from taking over the market. He called for a revision of the BPL list as the premises and base of the list was wrongly constituted in the first place by the union government, keeping away from the list a great many deserving people.
In the task of struggle and development, the Left Front would carry on with a zealous resistance to the rise in prices. It would provide relief to the people through the rural employment guarantee scheme in the ten districts where the REGA was applicable, said the LF chairman.
In conclusion, Biman Basu called for a deeper and wider contact with the masses in the days ahead to inform them about the causes of the price rise and about the imperative of resisting it.
Other speakers at the Kolkata rally were Nihar Roychaudhury (Forward Bloc), Prabir Deb (CPI), Manoj Bhattacharya (RSP), Moni Pal (SP), Mihir Byne (RCPI), Ratanlal Agarwal (DSP), and Sunil Chaudhuri Biplabi Bangla Congress.) CPI(M) leader Prasanta Kumar Sur presided.