People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIV

No. 03

January 17, 2010

CITU Holds Orissa State Conference

Dusmanta Kumar Das

ON December 29, the 11th Orissa state conference of the CITU opened with a procession of about 3,000 workers who converged in the Vikash Mahal ground after covering the Barbil town Keonjhar district. This was the inaugural, open session of the three-day conference which concluded on December 31. Lambodar Nayak, president of the state CITU unit, presided over the meeting while vice presidents Sivaji Patnaik and Janardan Pati, general secretary Bishnu Mohanty and treasurer Dusmanta Das addressed it. Indramani Behera, secretary of the reception committee, welcome the participants.

Speaking at the meeting, CITU’s national vice president Basudev Acharia criticised the UPA-2 government at the centre for skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and rising unemployment. He said the central government’s policy of dismantling the public distribution system, allowing futures trading, increasing the prices of diesel, petrol and other petro-products, non-remunerative prices to the peasants for their produce, and hoarding, and profiteering by blackmarketeers are major reasons for the ongoing price rise. While the central government boasts of eight per cent growth of economy in spite of the world financial crisis, 77 per cent of our people do not have the capacity to spend Rs 20 a day. While the central government has given financial packages to the capitalists, it has not even asked them to stop retrenchments and lockouts which affect the working class. Nor has the government paid any heed to the advice of the trade union organisations for necessary changes in the act pertaining to unorganised sector workers in order to provide real relief to these most deprived workers.

The CITU’s national secretary Dipankar Mukherjee criticised the central government for its conspiracy to disinvest the profit making public sector undertakings including those in the banking and insurance sector, telecom and even railways. He said by the government’s own admission the world economic crisis did not affect the Indian economy much because of the dominant role of the public sector in our economy. Yet the government wants to disinvest the profit making units to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore per annum. He said there is a diabolic conspiracy to privatise the provident fund and pension fund, and open up the retail trade sector for monopolists and multinationals at the behest of US imperialism. He criticised the central government for its insincerity in implementing the labour laws and rather making attempts to amend these laws in favour of employers.

The delegates session took place in the Kalyan Mandap ground, rechristened as named Dharanidhara Bhuiyan Mancha, after the legendary tribal revolutionary who fought against British imperialism. It was preceded by a convention of the working women, attended by women delegates. The convention elected a committee with Sanhita Ray and Kumudini Behera as joint state conveners. The CITU conference was attended by 234 delegates including 27 women.

After Lambodar Nayak read out his presidential address at the delegates session, Bishnu Mohanty placed the general secretary’s report, with 58 delegates participating in the discussion on it. The deliberations were lively and encouraging. Both the general secretary’s report and the statement of accounts placed by Dusmanta Das were passed unanimously.

The conference adopted resolutions on price rise, unemployment, loot of Orissa’s mineral wealth, agricultural crisis and peasant suicide, unorganised workers, and on unity and united movement of the working people.

Reception committee chairman Balaram Mohanty as well as fraternal delegates from the AITUC, HMS, Kisan Sabha, AIDWA, SFI, DYFI and Adivasi Mahasabha also addressed the session.

It was noted with a degree of pride that for the first time the CITU membership in Orissa has crossed the one lakh mark; it has increased form 88,000 at the last conference to 1,08,000 now. The rise covers both the organised and unorganised sectors, with the latter contributing more. The conference now has set an ambitious target of increasing it to two lakhs by the next conference.

The conference appreciated the heroic struggles of steel, coal, mining, transport and anganwadi workers, Ashakarmis, mid-day meal workers, Krushak Sathis, construction, pharmaceutical, aluminium, BSNL, forest and bidi workers, and others in the organised and unorganised sectors during the last three years.

The conference decided to take appropriate steps to implement the Bhubaneswar document on organisation in various unions and in elected committees, more particularly its recommendations about democratic functioning. It asked the workers to forge uncompromising struggles against imperialism and communal forces to in order to protect the country’s sovereignty and unity. It also urged the organised and unorganised sector workers to mobilise other working people, strengthen the CITU and also develop joint struggles. It decided to mobilise the workers on the issues of price rise and unemployment, against the agrarian crisis and peasant suicides. The conference also decided to mobilise the workers to stop the loot of the mineral wealth, to determine the make value added before the ores are exported and to work for a pollution free environment.

The conference elected a 79-member state executive with 25 office bearers. Lambodar Nayak and Bishnu Mohanty will lead the team as president and general secretary respectively. From Orissa, 53 delegates will go to the forthcoming all-India conference of the CITU.