People's Democracy

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


No. 49

December 05, 2010


Agartala Witnesses Massive Youth Rally


Haripada Das


THE forthcoming electoral battle in the civic bodies in Tripura is very much a part of the struggle for education, employment, control on soaring prices of the essential commodities, augmentation of the public distribution system (PDS), remuneration of the agricultural produce and, above all, for a better life. On the other hand, at the present juncture of national political scenario, the parliament, the highest platform of our democracy, remains stalled for weeks as the government is not prepared to concede the demand of a proper inquiry into the biggest ever scams of the country. It is therefore high time that the people of Tripura send a massage to the countrymen that the Left policies are the only alternative for our people. The youth brigade of the state should contribute its best in this important mission, said Manik Sarkar, member of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau and chief minister of the state in a massively attended youth rally held in the Stable Ground of state capital Agartala on November 28.


The rally took place at the joint call of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and Tribal Youth Federation (TYF).


On the day, all lanes and roads headed towards the Stable Ground which, naturally, could not accommodate even the half of the participants rushing in from distant subdivisions of the state. Waves of youth from adjoining areas marched to the rally ground in decorative processions with flags, festoons, placards and tabloids depicting their crying problems, the centre’s surrender to US imperialism and the scams that have come to light recently. In a word, Agartala town remained in the possession of the springing youth of the state on the day.


DYFI president Tapas Datta, TYF president Radha Charan Debbarma and DYFI CEC member Dipti Saha comprised the presidium that conducted the rally proceedings. DYFI and TYF secretaries, Amal Chakraborty and Pranab Debbarma respectively, were among the speakers. 


In his speech, Manik Sarkar referred to the recently published UNDP report that puts India in the 119th position in respect of human development and states that 55 per cent of the countrymen live below in dire poverty. He also mentioned the report of Central Labour Commission which found 9.6 per cent unemployment rate in the country. Ridiculing the GDP calculation which merge the annual income of biggest corporate barons with that of the poorest Jhumias of Tripura, Sarkar said this GDP may be shining on paper but is not so in practice. In fact it is an instrument to hide the shameful plight of the countrymen. Lambasting the centre for its imposition of a ban on new recruitment in central departments, Sarkar said it is tantamount to declaring a war against the ten crore unemployed in the country. Lakhs of posts are being abolished even in important sectors like railways, post and telegraph, telecommunications, banks and insurance etc. Disinvestment is taking place even in profitable PSUs including those known as navaratnas. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is being invited into the retail markets which would endanger the livelihood of crores of petty traders in our country.


Elaborating the Left Front government’s sincere efforts to generate maximum job opportunities in defiance of the central government’s dictate in the name of ‘rightsizing,’ Sarkar  asserted that his government has never stopped recruitment and continue it in future also in spite of its severe limitations and financial constraints. When the first Left Front government came to office in early 1978, the employee strength in the state was about 55,000 but now it stands at more than 1.5 lakh, he informed, adding that all recruitments in the state are made with strict adherence to the provisions of reservation for the SC, ST and other weaker groups. 


Referring to one scam after another that are rocking the parliament at present, Manik Sarkar said that the Congress party is now a synonym of corruption in the country and is neck-deep involved in frauds. With only half of the quantum of fund that has been misappropriated in the 2-G spectrum scam, Sarkar informed, all the countrymen belonging both to the APL and BPL categories, can be provided with 35 kg of rice or wheat at the rate of Rs 2 per kg for one whole year.


Scathingly attacking the opposition in the state, mainly the Congress, for their negative anti-people role on the issues relating to the state’s progress, Sarkar said once a hotbed of extremists, Tripura has succeeded in restoring peace. Also, Tripura tops the list in the implementation of the NREGA and Forest Rights Act in the country. Rural development in the state has been described as a model worth emulating in the whole country. The state has witnessed spectacular development in road communication. It is also fast advancing towards total literacy. But the Congress has nothing to claim even minimal cooperation with the state government for all these achievements.


Explaining the award of the 13th Finance Commission for the state, the chief minister said Tripura is the victim of unprecedented deprivation in the commission’s award. Instead of taking the last year of the previous plan period as the base year for calculating the committed expenditure in the following years, the commission took the first year of the plan period for the purpose. In this manner, the commission deliberately kept the enhanced committed expenditure of the government in the later years out of its consideration. It was thus that the state government has been deprived of a huge quantum of fund. Sarkar also criticised the centre for having arbitrarily hiked by more than double the price of natural gas, consequent upon which consumers in the state have been burdened with additional power tariffs. Did the Congress oppose these anti-people steps of the centre, Sarkar quipped. 


We must not suffer from complacency, Manik Sarkar warned while concluding his address. It is a fact that the DYFI and TYF are the biggest youth organisations in the state. However, many of the youth are still in the opposition fold. They must be won over in a persuasive manner; they may be approached with logic and reasons not for once but repeatedly, he advised.