People's Democracy

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


No. 48

December 07, 2008


AIAWU Calls For Picketing Of Govt Offices On JANUARY 28

M Venugopala Rao

The All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) organised all-India jathas that began from Punjab, Tamilnadu and Uttar Pradesh to observe the Twenty- Fifth anniversary of the Union. The silver jubilee celebrations concluded with a massive rally and public meeting in Hyderabad on December 2, 2008. The meeting was presided over by Paturu Ramayya, president of the Union. The leaders addressing meeting exhorted the agricultural workers to fight for comprehensive acts for their welfare and betterment of their lives and for defeating the Congress government in the coming elections. V S Achuthanandan, chief minister of Kerala and Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M), addressing the meeting, suggested to his counterpart in Andhra Pradesh to bring about a comprehensive act for distribution of land as was done in Kerala. Explaining how the Communist Party which came to power in Kerala for the first time in 1957, had taken possession of hundreds of acres of land from the zamindars and distributed it to the poor, he pointed out that the act for protecting the rights of tribals on forest lands enacted by the government of India recently was implemented in Kerala in an effective manner. During the jathas, it had come to notice that the Congress government in the state was not coming forward to implement the act. Achuthanandan explained that the CPI(M) led government in Kerala was ensuring food security to agricultural workers through public distribution system and paying a pension of Rs 1500 each. Additional subsidies were being given to the farmers raising foodgrain crops, he said. After coming to power in 2006, his government could arrest the trend of suicides by farmers by waiving all their debts, besides paying them a support price of Rs 1100 per quintal of paddy. Pointing out that killing seven people in police firing in Mudigonda in Khammam district in connection with the struggle for land was painful, Achuthanandan warned that struggles could not be stopped by bullets and lathies and gave a call to the agricultural workers to occupy lands under the banner of the Left parties. He praised the courage exhibited by the army in fighting terrorism in Mumbai. Earlier, he received the flags brought by the jathas and the memorial torch of the martyrs of Mudigonda.

B V Raghavulu, Polit Bureau member of CPI(M) and state secretary gave a call to the agricultural workers to get prepared for a political struggle during the next four months to defeat the Congress government which had failed to fulfil the promises it had given. He asserted that time had come when agricultural workers would have to show their might. Referring to the lament of the chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy as to what sin his government had committed, Raghavulu made it clear that if a white paper was released on how much land was distributed to whom by the Congress government, it would expose the CM’s mischief. While allotting government lands to bigwigs, the government was arresting and sending the poor who were fighting for allotment of house sites and arable land. He demanded the chief minister, who announced that houses, instead of house sites, would be given to the poor, to answer as to why construction of Indiramma houses was stopped at the level of basement itself. The government which promised to distribute 25 lakh acres of forestland, ultimately reduced it to just one lakh acres. Raghavulu questioned as to what happened to the distribution of 40 lakh acres of land announced by the Koneru Ranga Rao commission.

General secretary of AIAWU and MP, A Vijayaraghavan said that the problems of the agricultural workers that had come to notice during the jathas would be brought to the notice of the prime minister. He warned the government that if problems like issuance of ration cards, pensions, allotment of house sites, distribution of arable land, and strengthening of public distribution system were not solved, a seize would be laid to government offices all over the country on January 28, 2009. Vijayaraghavan announced that AIAWU would fight all over the country for enactment of a comprehensive act for the welfare of agricultural workers. Mallu Swarajyam, heroine of Telangana armed struggle of the peasants and special invitee to the Central Committee of the CPI(M), gave a call to the workers to dislodge the Congress government to stop exploitation.

B Venkat, general secretary of A P Agricultural Workers’ Union, announced that seize would be laid to FCI godowns on January 28, 2009 if 35 kilos of ration rice per family of agricultural workers was not given. CPI(M) MP Hannan Mollah, joint secretary of AIAWU, Suneet Chopra, members of all-India committee, Sarangadhar Paswar (Bihar), C T Krishnan (Kerala), S Thirunavakkarassu (Tamilnadu), Sisir Hui (Orissa), Ambika Prasad Soni (Uttar Pradesh), Kumar Shiralkar (Maharashtra) and Nityanad Swami (Karnataka) were also present on the dais. P Somayya, president of A P Agricultural Workers’ Union proposed a vote of thanks.

Earlier, a massive rally was taken out from Sundarayya Vignana Kendram to Indira Park, where the public meeting was held. Thousands of people from all over the state participated in the rally. Holding twenty-five red flags of the Union and a banner of the silver jubilee, its leaders led the rally, with the participants behind, raising resounding slogans. They demanded houses, house sites, and arable land to the poor. The traditional dances of tribals from Khammam district, depicting their tradition and attire, and various creative forms put up by the participants to expose the anti-people policies of the Congress government, corruption, terrorism, rising prices, etc., attracted the people en route the rally.