People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 44

November 04, 2007

Bengal Rejects Trinamul Congress’s Call for ‘Immobilisation’


B Prasant


THE call given by the Trinamul Congress chieftain Mamata Banerjee to ‘immobilise’ Bengal has been rejected out of hand by the mass of the people. Terror and the images of it (the corporate media would leave nothing to spontaneity in this matter) did keep people away from the streets during the morning hours in Kolkata. As the day rolled on, the normal hum of busy city life returned.


Elsewhere in the mufussil, the call for bandh by any other name by the Trinamul Congress never could leave any impact. The factories hummed with bustle. The tea gardens ran as on rails unexceptionally. The ports and the airport functioned as usual. As per norm, the agricultural realm saw a flurry of activities as the first harvesting of crops commenced amidst festivities. Also as per norm, the criminals in the pay and protection of the Trinamul Congress sought to attack public life — to little avail. In some places, Railway services, however, had to be stopped when overhead connectors were short-circuited and vacuum pipes disconnected by Trinamul Congress hoods, inconveniencing long-distance passengers in particular.


In all, the desperation of the Trinamul Congress goons saw 18 state government buses wrecked, and two tram cars — mostly in and around the Kalighat area (where the Trinamul Congress chief has her residence) and the Topsia locality (that houses the Trinamul Congress HQ). A child was seriously injured in a stampede when the Trinamul Congress activists sought to shut down a medicine shop and promptly met with popular resistance in north Kolkata. Twelve drivers and conductors of buses and trams received injuries, as did several dozen pedestrians as brickbatting was resorted to here and there by the Trinamul Congress hoods.




Such was the state of affairs as the noon hours approached that Mamata Banerjee was constrained to call off the bandh and all she saw was the conspiratorial hand of the CPI (M) in the lack of success of her efforts to bring life to a standstill in Bengal. She also called for (for the umpteenth time now), the resignation of the popularly elected chief minister, the reason this time being the ‘charge’ of ‘lawlessness.’


Later, briefing the media at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, state secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI (M) and Bengal Left Front chairman Biman Basu felicitated the people for ensuring a flop of a bandh, and said that matters could not be helped if Mamata Banerjee chose to project the lawlessness in her own outfit onto the people of the state. Biman Basu pointed out that despite threats and provocations galore, close to 800 state government buses ran in Kolkata, as did 127 tram cars.


The upshot of what the Trinamul Congress supremo called a ‘peaceful attempt at bandh’ saw the police arrest close to 2100 Trinamul Congress activists all over the state mostly on the charge of obstructing traffic, stoning buses and trams, and assaulting people going to join duties. CITU president Shyamal Chakraborty congratulated the workers for ensuring a failure of the ill-gotten call for a bandh. Force could not upset normal rhythm of life anywhere in Bengal, asserted the CITU leader.




Rebutting effectively Mamata Banerjee’s rant about ‘Nandigram witnessing development as usual’ (a back-handed compliment to the LF government by itself, but that is another story), Biman Basu said that for the past eight months (or so), 50,000 people were affected by a complete lack of development in large tracts of both blocks of Nandigram. 15,000 babies could not be administered anti-polio drops. There was no rural development work done and Rs two crores remain unspent. The distribution of job cards under REGA could not be done. Food-for-work could not be implemented. 50,000 man-days have irretrievably been lost


More, the mid-day meal funds have been misappropriated by the Trinamul Congress-run Panchayats and the funds perhaps used for purchase of guns. Without the BPL survey taking place, the rural Awas Yojana beneficiaries could not be identified yet. This has resulted in a loss of Rs 20 lakh that could not be utilised.


No work could be done in the realm of health care. The number of patients visiting subsidiary health centres has been cut by one-fourth and less. 25 of the 26 existing health centres could not spend the allocated funds causing havoc among the sick, the ailing, and the elderly of Nandigram block I, where the Trinamul Congress and the Maoists hold sway. Alarmingly enough, no work has been done in the sectors of water supply, electrification, and cottage industries, and without the utilisation certificates, fresh allocations for the next financial year looks bleak if not altogether impossible. Would Mamata Banerjee care?