(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 03, 2010
UPA Govt's Irresponsibility
in Tackling Rising Prices Flayed
S P Rajendran
MANIK Sarkar, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and chief minister of Tripura, flayed the irresponsible attitude of the UPA government in tackling the galloping price rise of foodgrains and other essential commodities. He attacked in particular union minister of agriculture, Sharad Pawar, for his suggestion that states could do more to rein in prices.
Sarkar addressed a huge public meeting at the conclusion of the 27th
conference of "Tamilnadu Vivasayikal Sangam", a state unit of All
India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), held at Dindigul, one of the strongholds of
peasant movement on December 21, 2009. The concluding public rally was
success with around 25,000 poor peasants, agricultural labour and
braving the heavy downpour to listen to the leaders' speeches. Dindigul
awash with Red flags. Manik Sarkar, further enthused the crowd by
umbrella on the dais and making his speech in pouring rain.
Manik Sarkar also delivered a special address to the state conference.
criticised the UPA government for continuing the non-implementation of
reforms in the country and contrasted this with the track record of
The centre, while resisting the demand for distribution of land to the landless poor, was generously giving away huge tracts of land to the rich people under various garbs. Even the ruling DMK is following this by not keeping its electoral promise of offering two acres land to the landless poor. Sarkar pointed out how despite 60 per cent of land in Tripura being under Reserve Forests, the Left Front government offered the remaining land under its control to the landless poor.
The state conference was inaugurated by S Ramachandran Pillai, president of AIKS, on December 19, 2009. In his inaugural address, he said that the government must ensure remunerative prices for all agriculture produce to make farming viable for peasants. It should also make more public investments in power, irrigation, infrastructure and science and technology for development of agriculture. While increasing the flow of credit facility to farmers, insurance cover should be given for all crops as recommended by the M S Swaminathan commission. Pillai asserted that without these measures, protection to farmers was not possible.
Stating that agriculture is facing an unprecedented crisis, AIKS president said that landless farmers increased from 20 per cent in the 1990s to 32 per cent now. Around 48 per cent of peasants are caught in credit crisis with most paying exorbitant interest for their agricultural loans. The growth rate of agricultural production and rate of foodgrains production has gone down drastically. Drought and flood alternatively and regularly ruin large portions of agriculture lands and the government continues its indifference to these issues.
The central government had made considerable public investments in irrigation, power and infrastructure sectors till 1991. But with the speeding up of neo-liberal reforms since then, it took a reverse path and stopped public investments resulting in today's situation of unprecedented agricultural crisis. This is accompanied by the grabbing of agriculture lands by influential persons, he added.
Condemning the propagation of Bt. Brinjal by MNCs, Pillai cautioned that such a step would wipe out the rights on seeds by farmers. Instead, science and technology on GM seeds should be developed by public sector units and the seeds must be made available to farmers at an affordable cost, he suggested.
Party of India (Marxist) Tamilnadu state secretary
General secretary of the sangham, K Balakrishnan, announced in the session that an intensive campaign against land grabbing would be held in villages on February 15, 2010 and demonstrations staged before all taluk offices on March 1. The conference, through a resolution, demanded uninterrupted 20-hour power supply for agriculture, free power connection to five lakh farmers who applied for it and settlement of various land issues.
Earlier, senior leader of the sangham, N R Ramasamy, hoisted the Red flag. State president K Mohd Ali presided over the inaugural session while sitting MLA of Dindigul and assembly leader of the CPI(M), K Balabarathi, delivered welcome address.
Varadharajan, general secretary of AIKS, G Veeriahan, veteren leader of
Kisan movement in Tamilnadu, P Shanmugam, Dr Venkatesh B Athreya, Prof
Soundararajan, CITU Tamilnadu general secretary,
total of 517 delegates, which included 38 women delegates, attended the
conference that began in the evening of December 19 from all over the
The delegation included those from affiliated to the Vivasayikal
Tamilnadu Sugarcane Farmers Association, Tamilnadu Milk Producers
and Tamilnadu Tribal People's
General secretary of Sangam, K Balakrishnan, presented a 60-page work and organisational report to the session detailing about the agrarian crisis in Tamilnadu and powerful struggles waged by the Sangam in the past three years. There was good discussion on the report for nearly eight hours in which 68 delegates from 34 districts and three affiliated organisations participated.
The conference elected a 70-member new state committee with K Balakrishnan elected as president and P Shanmugam as general secretary. Nagappan was elected as treasurer.