(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 21, 2010
THE Centre of Indian Trade
Unions (CITU) held its three
Addressing the open rally as the chief speaker Manik De, labour minister of the government of Tripura, lambasted the neo-liberal economic policies pursued by the UPA government at the centre. He said these policies, which have failed all throughout the globe, made multi-pronged attacks on the life and living of all the sections of the working people. A large majority of the working class is denied job security. A comprehensive social security act for the unorganised sector workers continue to remain elusive. Dwelling on the continuous escalation of prices of all essential commodities, particularly the food items, which are playing havoc with the working people�s lives, he said this was the inevitable result of the neo-liberal economic policies which put the profit of a few big capitalists and traders before people. The UPA government had been stubbornly refusing to curb the forward trading of essential commodities including food articles, he pointed out. This had been one of the main reasons of rising prices. The present government had also been refusing to strengthen the Essential Commodities Act 1955, which had been weakened by the previous NDA government, and to use it to put an end to hoarding and blackmarketing that had become rampant. De strongly opposed the Kirit Pareekh committee report that recommended steep escalation in the prices of petro-products. He called for a strong and united mass movement on the demand of universalisation and strengthening of PDS that can give some relief to the common people hit by rising prices. He termed the UPA Govt�s proposal of food security act as a hoax and called for a genuine food security act that would provide each family 35 kg of rice/wheat per month at Rs 2 per kg. He put forward before the rally different steps taken by the Left Front government of Tripura in favour of the people, which constituted an alternative model even within the constraints of the present socio-economic framework. He called for a powerful united movement of the working class and other sections of the working masses for reversal of the neo-liberal economic policies and for a pro-people alternative policy framework. He cautioned the workers against the divisive designs of the ruling classes and decried the attempt of the present UPA government at the centre to create a separate state for Telengana, which provided a fillip to the forces of separatism in different parts of the country including the north east. He also sounded a note of warning against different hues of communal, chauvinist and divisive forces which posed a serious threat to the toilers� unity and also to the unity and integrity of the country.
CITU secretary Swadesh Dev Roye pointed out how the recent global economic meltdown blew up all the myths the protagonists of neo-liberalism had built over the years. Asserting that capitalism could never be a crisis-free system, he strongly affirmed that the time had arrived to tell the working people with conviction that socialism is the only alternative that can deliver them from exploitation, hunger, poverty, unemployment and all forms of bondage. He strongly deplored the proposed move to separate Assam Asset from ONGC and termed it as an attempt aiming at privatisation.
State CITU general secretary Deben Bhattacharjee decried the recent agreement between Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangh affiliated to the INTUC and the state government regarding the wages of tea garden workers. Describing the agreement as a total sell-out, he said the Congress government in the state has once again betrayed the tea garden workers. He called for a united protest movement against this retrograde agreement.
CPI(M) state secretary Uddhab Barman, MLA, also addressed the rally. State CITU president presided over the rally.
The inaugural session followed by the delegates session of the conference was held at Silpagram, Guwahati. The inaugural session commenced with flag hosting by Asit Datta and floral tributes at the martyrs column.
Swadesh Dev Roye inaugurated the conference, explaining the genesis of recent global crisis of capitalism and saying that it opened up a new vista for a resurgence of the working class movement. He stressed upon the need of equipping the working class ideologically.
Manik De greeted the conference, explaining the big possibilities in the present situation as the working people in increasing numbers are coming out against the neo-liberal policies pursued by the UPA government and the people throughout the world are searching for an alternative to these policies. He called for deeper reach of CITU cadres among the working people and for forging a relentless struggle on every issue affecting them.
Garga Talukder, joint convenor of the Joint Council of Trade Unions, Assam, greeted the conference. Earlier, Satanjib Das, chairman of the reception committee, delivered his address of welcome.
In February 8 evening, Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar addressed the delegates session. He was given a rousing welcome on his arrival at the conference venue. His was a highly illuminating address that laid down in simple language a critical analysis of the current global crisis of capitalism and the economic policies pursued by the present ruling dispensation of our country. Pointing to the untold miseries and sufferings these policies have caused for the toiling masses, he laid stress on the leading role of the working class in uniting all sections of the working people in the struggle to roll back these policies and bring about an alternative policy framework. He asserted that it was only socialism that provided the real alternative to the crisis-ridden capitalism.
Out of 315 elected delegates, 279 including 64 women delegates attended the delegates session. Deben Bhattacharjee placed the report while Samir Das, treasurer, placed the accounts of the organisation for the last three years. The report, in the backdrop of the international, national and state situations, reviewed the activities and struggles carried out by the state CITU in different spheres. It noted that despite a difficult situation in the state which witnessed a spurt in terrorist activities and menacing rise of ethnicism, communal and divisive forces, the CITU could increase its membership from 53,250 in 2006 to 72,426 in 2008. (The tenth conference was held on the basis of the 2008 membership.) The report pointed out that the last CITU state conference at Bongaigaon (2006) had decided to expand and strengthen the organisation in motor transport, tea industry, public sector and unorganised sector. Except in tea industry where the membership has declined, CITU could register advance in all other sectors in terms of membership. The advance in unorganised sector, particularly among anganwadi and construction workers, was noteworthy due to continuous struggle. The report also identified different organisational weaknesses and laid down the tasks to remove these.
Fifty-one delegates took part in the discussion on the report and enriched it by their deliberations. After the summing up by the general secretary who accepted many of the amendments and suggestions put forward by the delegates, the report was accepted unanimously. The accounts was also accepted. Swadesh Dev Roye delivered the concluding speech.
The conference adopted several resolutions demanding, inter alia, rapid industrialisation and development of Assam, social security for unorganised sector workers, holding of price line, Rs 100 as daily wage for tea garden workers, and expressing solidarity to the people of West Bengal in their struggle against anarchy and terrorism let loose by the reactionary combine of the Trinamul Congress, Maoists, Congress and other forces.
The conference gave a call for holding a Protest Day throughout the state on February 15 and dharna in front of Assam assembly in the first week of March against the retrograde agreement between ACMS and state government on the wages of tea garden workers.
On the issue of social security and grant of smart cards to construction workers, the conference called for a dharna on March 3 in front of Assam assembly. The conference also appealed for success of the �Jail Bharo� movement on March 5 called by all the central trade union organisations.
The conference unanimously elected a 51 member state committee with Asit Datta as president, Deben Bhattacharjee as general secretary and biren sarma as treasurer. It also elected 34 delegates for the ensuing all-India CITU conference to be held at Chandigarh.
A highlight of the conference was a seminar held at Bishnu Nirmala Bhavan auditorium at Guwahati in February 8 evening, on the subject of �The present crisis of capitalism and the fight for an alternative.� Eminent trade union leader and former general secretary of the All India State Government Employees Federation, Sukomal Sen, was the main speaker of the seminar. Dr Apurba Das (lecturer, Guwahati College) explained the objective of the seminar which was conducted by Bipul Dev Sarma, a leader of State Bank of India Staff Association. More than 250 workers and employees attended the seminar. Sukomal Sen also addressed the deligates session of the conference.
A colourful cultural function was organised in the evening of February 8 at Silpagram auditorium.
The successful tenth Assam state conference of the CITU received wide publicity in the print and electronic media of the north east region and greatly enthused the workers and employees in the State.