People's Democracy

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


No. 38

September 20, 2009



CPI(M) Chalks Out Action Plan


MEETING at Chandigarh on September 13 and 14, the Punjab state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) unanimously elected  Charan Singh Virdi as the state secretary of the party.

Gurchetan Singh Bassi presided over the meeting which Polit Bureau member S Ramachandran Pillai and Central Secretariat member Nilotpal Basu attended from the party centre.

Adopting a resolution on political developments in the state, the state committee expressed grave concern over the resurfacing of fundamentalism and extremism which may again disrupt peace and communal harmony in Punjab. The state committee took note of the murder of an RSS leader in Patiala, the murder of a follower of Dera Sacha Sauda at Mansa, the violent action at Ludhiana railway station in which Babbar Khalsa activist Bhotna was arrested, the series of cases of heroin smuggling, and the series of looting cases including the looting of banks and recovery of fake currency etc. It said that that when we look upon these incidents in the context of abetment and support to the disruptive elements from across the boarder by the ISI, the strained relations between India and Pakistan and the US imperialist conspiracies for destabilising India and other third world countries, a clear picture emerges showing that extremism is again raising its ugly head. The increased propaganda activities of the fundamentalists also suggest that an emotional ground is again being prepared for the growth of extremism.

Taking serious note of this situation, the state committee felt that to combat this menace a four-pronged strategy should be adopted immediately. These steps are as below:

(1) Appropriate measures should be taken to end the ongoing agrarian crisis and jobs given to the unemployed youth.

(2) Chandigarh should be transferred to Punjab, the river water disputes and territorial claims and counter claims must be settled justly in the framework of the Rajiv-Longowal accord, the centre-state relations must be restructured to give more autonomy to states, and the states must be given 50 per cent share of the consolidated fund of India.

(3) An ideological campaign for secularism must be launched in opposition to fundamentalism and communalism and for communal harmony.

(4) Stringent administrative measures should be taken against the extremists.

The state committee also demanded from the central government that the existing arrangement should continue in respect to the administration of the union territory of Chandigarh. That is, the decision of handing over the administration of UT Chandigarh to a separate chief commissioner from November 16, 2009 should be scrapped and the governor of Punjab should continue holding the additional charge as its administrator. The central government should keep in mind that Chandigarh belongs to Punjab and needs to be transferred to Punjab at the earliest as envisaged in the Rajiv-Longowal accord.

At the outset, the state committee paid revolutionary tributes to its departed leaders, viz Comrade Subhash Chakravarty, sports minister and state secretariat member of the CPI(M) in West Bengal, and Comrades Principal Gurbachan Singh Bhullar, Ronki Ram and Bailt Singh Daangarh.

According to another news, the Punjab state committee of the CPI(M) has chalked out a phased programme of struggle and campaign against price rise, for relief of drought and for food security. As a part of it, a state level convention will be held at Jalandhar on October 5, and a state level protest rally at Chandigarh in the first week of December will be held jointly with CPI.

The state committee noted with concern that the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, particularly food articles, have hit very hard the livelihood of industrial workers, agricultural workers, poor peasants and others. The recent hike of 12.45 per cent in power tariff by the Badal government has thrown a further unbearable burden upon the people, and will have a cascading effect.

The state committee had demanded the following immediate steps to control the crushing price rise:

1) Forward trading in the essential commodities should be stopped.

2) Petrol and diesel price hike and the recent power tariff hike should be withdrawn.

3) Stringent measures should be taken against boarders and black marketers. Hoarded stocks must be de-hoarded.

4) Public distribution system must be strengthened, with ensured supply of 14 essential commodities at subsidised rates.

The state committee felt that the cost of paddy production has increased in Punjab because of drought and deficient rainfall and hence the centre and the Badal government must adequately compensate the peasantry for this increased burden. The state committee demanded a bonus of Rs 150 per quintal over and above an increase in the MSP of paddy to Rs 1400 per quintal.

The state committee also took note of the grave power crisis in Punjab, asking the Punjab government to take steps to complete the pending power generation projects by the targeted February 2012. It also demanded that all the moves to divide the Punjab State Electricity Board must be abandoned in view of the harrowing experience of unbundling and privatisation of electricity boards in other states.

Another demand was that the Badal government must revamp the government schools and hospitals, allotting more funds and making immediate recruitment of teachers, doctors and paramedical staff.

The state committee also demanded withdrawal of the enhanced court fees. (INN)