(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 23, 2008
THE US state department is busy with concoctions of ‘human rights abuses’ everywhere in the world except in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the Guantanamo Bay prison complex. When there is such abuse everywhere (oh yes, the United States itself is a ‘noted and notable exception,’ to quote a state department spokesperson), should Nandigram in Communist-led Left Front-ruled Bengal be left behind?
At Nandigram itself -- whoever here are even aware of the US state department and its twisted ways in the green and calm of the rural hamlets -- developmental work has started afresh after a year of the right-left horror when 29 CPI(M) workers were butchered, when thousands were made homeless, and when even the imperialists’ definition of ‘human rights’ was grossly, systematically, wilfully violated (and nary a squeak from the Bush, Rice & Co.), every day, every night, every week, every month.
At Nandigram Block I, an NREGA project worth Rs 62 lakh has started. Job cards are distributed in every village, in every Panchayat area. The rural poor are involved with the entire process. Seven canals are being dredged, widened, the alignment corrected, and the gradients reoriented so as to utilise the maximum amount of the rainfall in the back and forth flow of the river Haldi. The total cost of the refurbishing of the canal-based irrigation system will be close to Rs 72 lakh, CPI (M) leaders Ashok Guria and Ashok Bera report.
The ‘untied fund’ from which a variety of developmental work can be undertaken in the rural areas, irrespective of the modality of the department taking part, more than Rs 20 lakh worth of mandays could be created in the past couple of months. The work of rural electrification has moved apace. Gokulnagar and Sonachura – the hotbed of the Maoists – are now fully enjoying the sweep of electrification. Of the 22 mouzas of the Nandigram Block I, eleven have been electrified. Two out of the three mouzas of Nandigram Block II have had every house given electric connection. Newer electrification projects worth Rs 20 lakh have commenced elsewhere in Nandigram.
BRIDGES AND SCHOOLS
A new bridge – a long-standing demand – over the Bela-Uday canal is being completed. Four secondary and four more child education centres have been set up. Six Gram Panchayats in Nandigram’s Block I would now have a primary health centre each. Cluster-level Resource Centres of the total literacy mission are in the process of rapid completion at a cost of Rs six lakh each.
Twenty two primary schools are being constructed at Nandigram’s two blocks. Seven high schools have been given grants of Rs two lakh each for construction / extension of buildings. Tenders have been placed for 22 new tubewells. The animal resources department of the Bengal Left Front government has allocated 120 thousand chicks and chicklings for 100 self-help groups.
TERROR OF DESPERATION
Even as the first wave of developmental endeavours is given a free rein to, the Trinamul-Maoists have unleashed a wave of attacks on CPI(M) workers at Nandigram. Following fiery and provocative speeches of Mamata Banerjee and her local chieflings, delivered at a sparsely attended meeting on 14 March, the goons in the outfit’s pay and protection launched completely unprovoked and armed assaults on CPI(M) workers Sheikh Abul Kalam Azad and Sheikh Monir-ul Islam. They were dragged down from their bicycle and assaulted with sharp weapons. Both were rushed to hospital in serious conditions. The desperation of the Bengal opposition shows up clearly as the rural polls approach and they are despaired of another round of defeats at the hands of the mass of the people – at Nandigram as elsewhere in Bengal.