People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 17, 2006
Orissa CITU State Conference Held
THE 10th conference of Orissa state CITU committee was held from November 25-27 at Rourkela, a steel town in the district of Sundargarh. On November 25, a huge public meeting was organised. More than ten thousand tribal men and women workers along with their family members mostly from the iron ore mines of Bonai and Champua sub-division marched in a most colourful procession paving all through the eight kilometres with slogans, dancing and drumming. Several thousands of people from different parts of the state also joined the rally. CITU all India president Dr M K Pandhe and secretary Ardhendu Dakhi along with other state leaders addressed the rally.
300 delegates and 35 observers representing about 107 unions from different unorganised and organised industries of the state attended the conference. Among them, 28 were women delegates.
INCREASED STRENGTH AND MEMBERSHIP
Since the last conference, there is substantial growth in the membership mainly from the unorganised sectors like anganwadi, beedi, construction and sponge iron industries of the state. The membership increase has been achieved during a period where bitter offences were mounted by the managements in general. As far as facts go, there is severe stress on account of loss of man-days due to closure and lockouts of the industries where as the same is minimal for strikes etc. During 2004 alone, the loss of mandays on account of strikes has been 80,156 where as the same went as high as 6,12,198 in case of lockouts and closure. It is further revealed that 40,700,63 workers from 1,27,884 organisations belonging to 83 occupations have not yet been covered under the provisions of minimum wages despite the same being least when compared to other states of India. The state government led by the BJD-BJP combine is extremely anti-poor and anti-labour.
The government is mainly directed to maintain worst fiscal situation through borrowing money from world bank and DFID and sale of prime land and minerals for a pie; and secondly, exercise stringent fiscal discipline through curtailment of social expenditure i.e. education, health etc. and organising police terror on the poor people resisting these policies. The Kalinga Nagar incident where indiscriminate firing killed 14 poor adivasies who were protesting in January 2006 reveals this. It is further seen that the state government is paying about Rs 35,000 crores per annum as interest towards the loan obtained from the WB, DFID and other agencies (CAG report). The conference also noted in its deliberations the rampant loot of mineral resources through exports. It is stated that coal worth Rs 3000 crores per year, 19000 tons of bauxite, 30000 tons of manganese, 6 lakh tons of chrome, 13 lakh tons of dolomites, one crore 50 lakhs tons of iron ores are extracted from Orissa annually, and approximately Rs 300 crores only is earned by the state.
The conference began with the hoisting of the Red flag by the state president Lambodar Nayak and the venue was named after one of the veteran trade union leaders as comrade Amiya Das Mandeep nagar. After the floral tributes were paid at the martyrs column, the chairman of the reception committee Laxman Munda, MLA welcomed the gathering.
M K Pandhe addressed the public rally of the conference, where he dealt with the international situation, the major problems facing the country and the burning issues in the state of Orissa. He explained in detail about the role played by the Left and democratic forces to keep the communal parties at bay and in UPA’s acceptance of the Common Minimum Programme. He expressed his displeasure at the lukewarm attitude of the Congress led government in implementing the CMP and pro-labour, pro-poor policies. He also called on workers to make success the December 14 all India general strike, as a nationwide protest action against the anti-people economic policies of the UPA government.
The rally was also addressed by A Dakhi, secretary, CITU and other state CITU leaders like Sivaji Pravat Mishra, Bidyadhar Barik from HMS, Satyapriya Mohanty from UTUC(LS) and N K Mohanty from AICCTU, Surajita Nayak from AIDWA, Susil Giri from Sramik Karmachari Ekta Mancha, Sarat Das from SFI, Ashok Mohanty from Kisan Sabha and Chandrabhanu from DYFI.
The CITU secretary A Dhakhi inaugurated the conference and summed up the conference deliberations. He elaborately dealt with the aspects of organisation in the present situation in Orissa and implementation of CITU policies at various levels. In his keynote address he urged that the CITU activists take note of serious situation specially of the industrial scenario prevailing in Orissa. The BJD-BJP government is frequently signing mega steel industries and this is noting but a step forward in the direction of the loot of raw materials and natural resources. He called on CITU state leaders to rise to the occasion and become a strong fighting force in the state.
The state CITU president Lambodar Nayak in his presidential address specially dealt on the state industry and labour scenario refuting the drive of BJD-BJP ruling parties to malign the people of Orissa.
The general secretary’s report presented by Bishnu Mohanty gave a vivid picture of the CITU and its efforts to organise workers at various levels and the encouraging response it received. He categorically noted the strenuous efforts of CITU leaders in different industries during the last three years. He called on the delegates to stand strong in their determination to make the organisation more and more strong and extend it to new areas.
The general secretary’s report was discussed by 62 delegates. About 7 women delegates participated in the discussion. Bishnu Mohanty summed up the discussion with a clarion call for sacrifice and strong CITU organisation in every sphere of industries in the state. The general secretary’s report and statement of accounts was passed by the conference unanimously.
Resolutions supporting all India strike on December 14, against attacks on workers, unemployment halt to export of raw materials, against communalism and for expanded capacity of the Rourkela Steel Plant were moved and passed.
The conference elected a new state committee of 81 members and 25 office bearers. Lambodar Nayak, Bishnu Mohanty and Dusmant Das were re-elected respectively as president, general secretary and treasurer. There are two women office bearers in the team.
Various cultural programmes, seminars and prize distribution to students in essay writing and debating competitions were organised as part of the conference. Hockey tournament was also conducted prior to the conference and the CITU president M K Pandhe distributed prizes to the winning team, to good drama artists etc. The conference organised a seminar on ‘Wither industrialisation of Orissa and alternate path’ which was addressed by many distinguished intellectuals like Prabhat Mallick, B P Tripathy, noted journalists Debendra Mohanty, Arun Panda, Muralidhar Parija and CITU state general secretary Bishnu Mohanty.