People's Democracy

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


No. 36

September 06, 2009

on file



IRONY can�t get bigger than this. Neither can it get more tragic. Even as drought and food scarcity loom large, India�s granary, Punjab, is losing a staggering 18 lakh metric tonnes of wheat to wastage. It�s a quantity that can feed 15 lakh families for 365, or weight of entire wheat produced in Australia in a year.


Mountains of wheat are rotting in the fields of Punjab, strewn across soggy land, with government agencies either unable or unwilling to move it out of the state into move it out of the state into the mouths of the country�s hungry millions�..


In Punjab, which produces a total of over 150 lakh-mt of wheat, a whopping 99.92 lakh-mt is stored in the open while only 30 lakh � mt is covered. Agriculturists have cried themselves hoarse at the lack of government infrastructure in the country�s food basket.


--- The Times of India, August 21, 2009


THE wholesale price inflation was negative for 10 weeks in a row, but retail prices of items consumed by people in villages rose at the rate of nearly 13 per cent in the month of July.


Inflation based on consumer price index for agriculture labourers rose from 11.52 per cent in June to 12.90 per cent in July, while the one based on consumer price index for rural labourers went up from 11.26 per cent to 12.67 per cent last month�.


The variation between wholesale price inflation and consumer price-based inflation is mainly because of high weightage of food items in consumer price indices.


--- The Asian Age, August 22, 2009


US intelligence agency CIA outsourced to private security contractors the job of eliminating top-level al Qaida members in 2004, as part of a secret programme, media reports said today.


Blackwater USA, the security firm whose operations in Iraq came under intense scrutiny, was given the operational responsibility for targeting top al Qaida leaders, The New York Times and The Washington Post said quoting unnamed government sources.


The North Carolina company, was awarded million of dollars for training and weaponry, but the programme was cancelled before it was operationalised, two officials familiar with the secret project said.


�Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong,� a retired intelligence officer intimately familiar with the assassination programme was quoted as saying by The Washington Post.


The secret programme was launched in 2001 as a CIA-led effort to kill or capture top al-Qaida leaders using the agency�s paramilitary forces.


However, in 2004, CIA decided to revive it under a different code name, using outside contractors, officials told The Washington Post.


�It is unclear whether the CIA had planned to use the contractors to actually capture or kill Qaeda operatives, or just to help with training and surveillance in the program,� reported The New York Times.


Government officials said that bringing outsiders into a programme with lethal authority raised deep concern about accountability in covert operations, the daily said.


American spy agencies have in recent years outsourced some highly controversial work, including the interrogation of prisoners.


Blackwater company came under heavy criticism for its role in a shootout in Baghdad in 2007 that left 1`7 Iraqi civilians dead.


--- The Statesman, August 21, 2009