People's Democracy

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


No. 36

September 06, 2009



AIAWU Identifies Issues for Coming Days


Hannan Mollah


MEETING at Malevalli in Mandya district of Karnatka on August 9 and 10, the general council of the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) has decided to take up the issue of proper implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) as a major issue of struggle of agricultural workers in the country. The AIAWU will, on this issue, strive to organise the agricultural workers and lead them into action in the days to come.


According to the AIAWU general council�s decision, all state committees of the union will organise state level conventions and plan to build a movement on this issue. They will undertake at least three action programmes in each district in the remaining part of this year.


An intensive campaign is to commence on some major demands such as job of each member (and not just one member) of a job card holding family under the NREGA, payment of wages at Rs 150 per day, and guaranteed jobs for 200 days in a year. The union will also demand that agricultural workers and rural poor must get this benefit so as to enable them to face the severe drought and unprecedented price.


Other demands of the union include universalisation of the public distribution system, supply of 14 essential commodities through it at subsidised prices, and house sites for the rural homeless poor. The union will organise massive campaigns at panchayat and district levels in the entire of month of October, through meetings, dharnas and rallies.


In the month of November, it will organise a rally before parliament in New Delhi.


The council meeting discussed, with serious concern, the growing atrocities against Dalit scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in different parts of the country. Caste oppression, police repression, practice of untouchability, non-implementation of welfare programme for dalits were also reported from states. The general council decided to organise conventions against such attacks at the panchayat, block and district levels; these will culminate in a state level convention in every state to highlight such problems and build up resistance against such attacks.


Besides, reports of starvation, malnutrition and migration for work and food are also pouring from different districts. The prices of all essential commodities are skyrocketing. Agricultural workers are the worst sufferers. The drought in one third part of the country is intensifying their miseries. The union has decided to take up this matter seriously. As per the general council�s decision, the AIAWU was also present in the recent national convention on food security and against price rise, organised in New Delhi, and will join hands with other organisations to build up united struggles all over the country on these issues.


The general council noted that there was growth of the organisation�s activities in some states and membership increased well in the states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra and Karnataka. But the decline of membership in Tamilnadu and Bihar was a matter of concern. Overall membership last year was around 44 lakhs. The council called for an increase in membership beyond 50 lakhs by the time the union�s seventh all-India conference is held in the middle of 2010.


Another decision of the council was to organise a regional political class in Hindi at Chandigarh in October. A class for South India also be planned. The purpose is to raise the ideological and political level of the organisers and leader in the Hindi region.


AIAWU president P Ramaiya chaired the council meeting, attended by 76 members from 12 states, while reception committee secretary P Madhu welcomed the council members at Shanti Bhavan of the Malevalh municipal committee. Joint secretary Suneet Chopra moved a condolence resolution.


Presenting the general secretary�s report, A Vijayaraghvan explained the current post-election situation in the country, saying only the struggles of the working masses would remove the cloud of poll defeat and bring back the people to the centre-stage. He stressed that the AIAWU would have to play an important role in building up a mass movement against the price rise, unemployment and poverty. He noted that there were improvements in the union�s activities in different states and its independent initiative was successful in Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Tripura, Punjab and Kerala. The joint movement in Maharashtra was also remarkable. He stressed that the organisation must adopt a mass approach for an expansion of the movement. It needs to continuously highlight the issues like the enactment of a comprehensive central legislation for agricultural workers. Expressing concern over massive migration of agricultural workers from state to state and within states, he said we have to take up the matter in the states seriously. We need a very widespread and militant struggle for proper implementation of the NREGA and fight the growing corruption in its work.


To the discussion that followed, 21 council members made their contributions.


Addressing the AIAWU general council meeting, AIKS president S Ramachandrean Pillai made an illuminating presentation on the current international and national situations. He elaborated the crisis of agriculture in our country and its impact or the life of peasants and agricultural labourers in the era of globalisation, stressing the need of a united and broad movement of masses against anti-people policies of the UPA government.


The council adopted a resolution on the NREGA which was moved and explained by Kumar Shirilkar. Suneet Chopra moved the resolution on food security, Sarangdhar Paswan moved one on atrocities against the dalit people, Nityanand Swami moved another on the attack on a dalit woman in Malavalli. The council adopted all these resolutions unanimously. It also adopted the resolution on future tasks, which AIAWU joint secretary Hannan Mollah moved. It was about building up a struggle and expanding the organisation in different parts of the country.


A big, colourful and militant rally cum public meeting at Malevalhi municipal ground preceded the council meeting. A large number of agricultural workers from Mandya district attended the rally that was addressed by S R Pillai, A Vijayaraghvan, Hannan Mollah and Nagaraj. P Ramaiya presided over the meeting.