People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 05, 2006
LF Govt’s Industrialisation Drive Will Continue Apace
THE anti-people and anti-development conspiracies of the Bengal opposition notwithstanding, the industrialisation efforts of the state Left Front government shall continue with fervour. “We are determined not to allow the opportunistic elements and their patrons in the corporate media to frustrate the developmental initiative that has been set in motion,” said Bengal CPI(M) secretary Biman Basu. Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that the state LF government would publish a policy statement on the present and the future of industrialisation in Bengal.
Addressing rallies in Nadia, Biman Basu made it quite clear how the Trinamul Congress and Pradesh Congress were engaged in using the façade of ‘kisan dissatisfaction’ to run a political campaign against efforts by the Bengal LF government to set up industries in a planned manner.
Biman Basu believed that the Bengal opposition were engaged in an ill-gotten effort to try to erode the extending rural support base of the CPI(M) and the Left Front by setting up a campaign of mis-information about the land use policy in Bengal. Biman Basu noted that in the recent elections held in Bengal, the Left Front had been able to secure an average of 60-70 per cent of the rural votes.
There was a point in time, recalled the CPI(M) leader, when the opposition in Bengal would shed crocodile’s tears for the ‘lack of industrialisation’ and ‘over-emphasis on agriculture’ in Bengal under the Left Front government. The self-same people were now singing a different tune to suit their political compulsions. The two Congresses continued to represent, however, whatever there remains of the superior landed elements in the villages. In Keshpur, Biman Basu recalled, the Trinamul Congress did promise the jotdars (rich peasants and farmers) a return of their ceiling-surplus land that had been re-distributed to the rural poor, and was thus able to collect close to 700 guns from them to ‘fight and finish off the CPI(M) in Bengal.’
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has stated that the Bengal LF government would identify in its policy statement the pattern of land use in the state. Buddhadeb has asked the land use board of the state government to identify land for various uses, industrial, agricultural, and urban. A land use map would be drawn up. The agricultural land would be marked in green, the land parcels for industrial use in red, and land for urbanisation in yellow.
IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE
Agriculture shall continue to be the basis of the economy and there shall be never any occasion to divest agriculture of the basic importance that it always has had in the state’s economy. Based on the agricultural success, said Buddhadeb, ‘we shall go on industrialising the state in the days ahead.’ Agricultural production would be taken a step higher and agricultural marketing will be expanded further. Buddhadeb asserted that with popular support behind the effort, the industrialisation of Singur would go ahead in a decisive and pro-development manner.
Elsewhere, in Delhi former prime minister and Jan Morcha leader V P Singh observed that there was a palpable difference between the industrialisation policy of the Bengal Left Front government and other non-Left state governments. Referring to the case of the special economic zones (SEZs), V P Singh said that in Bengal 50 per cent of the land allotted was being kept for the production units, with 25 per cent earmarked for industry-related infrastructure, and only 25 per cent for other uses.
In other states, the Jan Morcha leader pointed out, only 25 per cent of the land was set aside for the production units and 75 per cent for such ‘developments’ as resorts, golf courses, and housing. There was also a point of difference on the issue of legal provisions to protect the interest of the workers. On the Singur issue, V P Singh said that most of the land being used for the automobile factory was a single-crop land. The LF government has also chosen to provide compensation at going market rates for land taken over and the compensation package included other components, and this was not the case in other states, he pointed out.
The stand taken by V P Singh would surely prove a disappointment for the Bengal opposition and its advisers in the corporate media that had been raising a great deal of creepy noise about getting the Jan Morcha leader to participate in ‘movement against development of Singur.’
WORKERS’-PEASANTS’ UNITY IMPERATIVE: KONAR
A FUNCTIONAL and conscious unity between the kisans and the mazdoors was a foundation column of the process of industrialisation now taking place in Bengal. The worker’-peasants’ alliance must stand firmly behind the state Left Front government on this issue, all the way. Benoy Konar, an all-India AIKS leader said this recently at a convention at the industrial township of Haldia in Midnapore east.
Benoy Konar said that there was also a dire need for the political rousing of the khet-mazdoors. The kisans cannot turn their face away, and they must not, from joining the ranks of struggle against the menace of imperialist globalisation, especially they must close ranks with the workers who were deeply engaged in the anti-globalisation struggle. The joint struggle engaged in by the mazdoors and the kisans would set up the process of a fresh wave of movement across the country.
The burgeoning grassroots’ level, and fully functional peasant-worker unity was a significant boost to the performance of the popular and pro-people Left Front government, said Benoy Konar who also pointed out that the economic situation in the villages had changed for the better under Left Front government.
The rich agricultural base has produced a boost to the levels of income of the kisans. A vast rural market has been created. There has been a significant increase in the number of non-agricultural workers when compared to growth of khet-mazdoors. The pattern of economic development is undergoing changes thanks to the quickening pace of industrialisation across Bengal. The new generation of rural people are intimately bound up with industrialisation along with their agricultural base.
The change in the rural stretches, said the kisan leader, “is indicative of political, economic, and social transformations.” The khet-mazdoor and kisan organisations must work in close cooperation with and coordination of the TUs. That way the workers’-peasants’’ unity would bear fruit in boosting the welcome changes taking place in Bengal’s villages and hamlets, concluded Benoy Konar. The district kisan and CITU leaders, too, addressed the convention that was organised by the district unit of the AIKS.
EXTENDED COMPENSATION FOR THE SHARE-CROPPERS
The Bengal Left Front government has set in motion a process whereby the compensation package for bargadars would be increased to 50 per cent for land taken over the state government. Changes in law and enactments would be made to implement this policy.
Land is a subject in the concurrent list under the Constitution. The state governments can change land-related laws through consent of the union government. According to the existing proviso of the Land Acquisition Act, registered bargadars are in a position to receive compensation amounting to six times the market price of crops. However, this may not be a satisfactory settlement. Thus, for Singur, taken as a case study, the Bengal LF government has already provided the bargadars whose cropped land has been taken over, 25 per cent of the land value over and above the exiting compensation package.
The Bengal Left Front government has already opined that there should be a uniform package all over the country for compensation and rehabilitation for land taken over by the government. However, the state governments must be given the liberty to create compensation-rehabilitation packages based on the unique characteristics that they possess including geographical characteristics.