People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIV

No. 01

January 03, 2010

   27TH STATE CONFERENCE OF TAMILNADU KISAN SABHA

 

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.

 

Manik Sarkar addressed a huge public meeting at the conclusion of the 27th state conference of "Tamilnadu Vivasayikal Sangam", a state unit of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), held at Dindigul, one of the strongholds of the peasant movement on December 21, 2009. The concluding public rally was a big success with around 25,000 poor peasants, agricultural labour and others braving the heavy downpour to listen to the leaders' speeches. Dindigul was awash with Red flags. Manik Sarkar, further enthused the crowd by refusing an umbrella on the dais and making his speech in pouring rain. N Varadharajan, K Varadharajan and K Balabarathi, MLA, also spoke in the rally.

 

Earlier, Manik Sarkar also delivered a special address to the state conference. He criticised the UPA government for continuing the non-implementation of land reforms in the country and contrasted this with the track record of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura governments of the Left Front where agriculture was being protected by effectively implementing land reforms. He, however, added that mere distribution of land was not enough and stressed the need for provision of proper irrigation facility. “At present, agriculture land was concentrated in the hands of few people who knew nothing about agriculture. With no remunerative prices for agriculture produces, suicides by farmers were on the rise. The centre had miserably failed in providing high-quality seeds and required quantum of fertilisers at the right time”, he said.

 

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.

 

INAUGURAL

SESSION

 

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.

 

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Tamilnadu state secretary N Varadharajan, in his address in the inaugural session, criticised the functioning of the DMK state government in general and questioned the abrupt stoppage of distribution of free house and land pattas to the landless poor in cities and villages. He charged both the central and state governments of seeking to protect the interests of rich classes only by grabbing agriculture lands in the name of establishing SEZs, trusts and educational institutions.

 

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.

 

K Varadharajan, general secretary of AIKS, G Veeriahan, veteren leader of the Kisan movement in Tamilnadu, P Shanmugam, Dr Venkatesh B Athreya, Prof R Chandra, N Pandi , P Selvaraj and other leaders participated in the session. Two books were released on this occasion, one a second publication of Tamil translation of E M S Namboodiripad's "How I became a Communist?” and two, "Land Ceiling Acts in Tamilnadu" written by G Veeriahan.

 

A Soundararajan, CITU Tamilnadu general secretary, S Thirunavukarasu, state general secretary of AIAWU and Dr V Durai Manickam, general secretary of Tamilnadu Kisan Sabha (CPI) delivered fraternal greetings to the state conference.


DELEGATE

SESSION

 

A total of 517 delegates, which included 38 women delegates, attended the state conference that began in the evening of December 19 from all over the state. The delegation included those from affiliated to the Vivasayikal Sangam, like Tamilnadu Sugarcane Farmers Association, Tamilnadu Milk Producers Association and Tamilnadu Tribal People's Union.

 

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.

 

AIKS all India general secretary, K Varadharajan, delivering the concluding address called upon the delegates to further strengthen the organisation and lead more united struggles of Tamilnadu peasantry.