People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 29, 2007
Workers, Peasants Vow To Defend Left Front Govt
ORGANISATIONS of the peasants and workers in Tripura are in for bigger struggles ahead for an alternative policy framework and to defend the state’s Left Front government from the attacks coming from vested interests. On Wednesday, April 18, they observed a Workers-Peasants Demands Day with a charter of ten urgent demands when, in spite of the scorching heat, a long serpentine procession consisting of thousands of tribals and non-tribals alike assembled at the Children’s Park in the state’s capital, Agartala. On this day, the participants also took the oath of further strengthening the struggle for establishment of the sixth Left Front government. They also decided to organise a mass struggle against the anti-people policies of the UPA government led by the Congress at the centre.
Enactment of a comprehensive central act for agricultural labourers, proper implementation of the rural employment guarantee scheme and its introduction in the remaining districts, revitalisation of the public distribution system, check on the spiralling prices, distribute of land to the real tillers, ensured remunerative prices for farmers’ crops, exemption of indebted farmers from further loan repayments and provision of loans for them on lower interest rates and pro-people reforms in labour acts etc were included in the 10 demands, with which the peasants and workers rocked the state on the day.
In Agartala town, a big crowd assembled in the Children’s Park and then moved in a procession through the main streets of the town, defying the scorching heat of the summer noon, before congregating for a rally. The procession and the rally were jointly organised by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Tripura Upjati Gana Mukti Parishad (GMP), Khet Mazdoor Union (KMU) and Fishermen’s Association. CITU state president Manik Dey, AIKS state secretary Narayan Kar, GMP Central Committee member Salil Debbarma, KMU state secretary Babul Bhadra and fishermen’s leader Priya Ranjan Das addressed the rally.
According to Manik Dey, the heat of globalisation was roasting all sections of the people --- workers, peasants, small traders and employees in the service sectors. It is only the Left that has presented a pro-people alternative to this policy, and it is for this alternative that we are fighting jointly. Though the UPA government at the centre has adopted some pro-people measures at the insistence of the Left parties, on whom that government depends for their existence, still that government is very much keen to protect the interests of the capitalist and landlord classes. As the three Left-ruled states, viz Tripura, West Bengal and Kerala, are paving the way of a truly pro-people alternative to the current globalisation drive, these governments are being targeted for attack, Dey said.
Reminding about the heinous conspiracy to hijack the popular mandate in the state assembly elections in Tripura in 1988, Manik Dey said the Congress party did not hesitate to give a tacit signal to the TNV extremists to carry on a series of mass killings on the eve of those elections, and then did not hesitate to rig the polling in the shadow of the military, so as to tilt the electoral outcome in its favour. Today as well, the utterly discredited Congress and the INPT, the latest incarnation of the same murderer gang called TNV, can go to any extent to conspire against the Left Front governments. The barrage of misinformation about Nandigram is an eye-opener in this regard, he warned.
Narayan Kar explained the devastating effects of globalisation on the peasants and agricultural labourers, and strongly argued for enactment of a comprehensive central law for agricultural labourers. As the Congress governments have not conceded this demand during the last 25 years, he said we have to intensify our joint struggle in the coming days for the purpose.
Similar rallies and processions were held at all the subdivision and block headquarters throughout the state. Teliamura, Bishalgarh, Jirania, Khowai and Melaghar in West Tripura district, Dharmanagar, Kanchanpur, Pecharthal and Kailashahar in North Tripura district, Chailengta in Dhalai district and Belonia, Jolaibari, Aamarpur, Udaipur and Subroom in South Tripura district witnessed big and spirited rallies in observance of the Workers-Peasants Demands Day on April 18.
ON TOP IN NREGA IMPLEMENTATION
Tripura has acquired the topmost position among the states in implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the country. This marks a significant progress from the third position the state occupied previously. In addition to this, Tripura has shown remarkable progress in rural development too and hence the central allotment for Tripura has substantially been upped in the last three years. In addition to all this, Tripura has received Rupees 10 crore as a reward.
In order to review the progress of the NREGA in the selected 200 districts in the country, the agriculture and rural development ministry held a scrutiny meeting at New Delhi on April 12-13, 2007. Central minister for rural development Raghuvansh Prasad Singh inaugurated it. Secretaries for rural development from different states of the country, along with high officials of the central ministry, were present in the meeting. Dr J S G Iyenger, commissioner, rural development department represented Tripura.
In comparison to some other states such as Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, Tripura has spent 88.2 percent of the fund allocated for the NREGA. Moreover, the state is also leading in the matter of the grant received for the rural employment guarantee scheme. In addition, Tripura is leading also in matters like involving women in the NREGA scheme, purchasing materials, sanctioning allowances and so on.
Addressing the press on this occasion, Dr Iyenger informed that on February 2, 2006, the centre included the Dhalai district of Tripura among the other districts of the country where the NREGA was being implemented. Seventy five thousand job-cards were issued here and among them 50,000 were women, 61 percent of the total cardholders belonged to the scheduled tribes and 17.2 percent to the scheduled castes. This has led to the creation of a large amount of permanent assets in the villages in Tripura. The state’s performance was highly lauded in New Delhi and the centre also included the West Tripura and South Tripura districts in the NREGA on April 1, 2007 and applications from the rural unemployed have already been received in both the districts as the first step. The centre has also increased the fund allocation for the state every year, from Rs 89 crore in 2002-03 to Rs 233 crore in 2006-07. Dr Iyenger expressed the hope that it would go up to Rs 400 crore in 2007-08. (INN)