People's Democracy

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


No. 17

April  24, 2011




BJP Govt Bares Its Fangs


M K Nandy


MEETING at the state capital Raipur on April 5-6, the Chhattisgarh state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) decided to conduct a powerful protest campaign from April 15 to 27 throughout the state against the unbearable rise in water tax and electricity tariff and also against the burning of more than 300 houses of poor tribals in Chintalnar area in Bastar district.


One notes that the BJP government of Chhattisgarh has hiked the water tax rate from Rs 60 to Rs 120 for domestic connections In the name of industrialisation, the state government is selling the rivers and other water resources to the industrialists and therefore, the farmers are naturally not getting water for their agricultural operations. There is nowadays a serious water crisis in many parts of the state.


The state government has also increased the electricity tariff manifold. The increase is 22 per cent for domestic use whereas it is only 12 per cent for industries. This way they are burdening the common people more in comparison to the rich. Earlier, paying no heed to the huge protests, the state government had effected a division of the Chhattisgarh state electricity board (CSEB), which was then a profitable venture, into separate companies. Since then, the state government has increased the electricity tariff at least five times and put huge burdens on the common people, while doling out huge concessions to the rich. Due to this factor, CSEB has incurred a loss of about 1,000 crore rupees. This includes huge amounts of dues which different industries and government offices owe to the CSBE. Instead of realising these dues from the industrialists and government offices, however, the BJP government has preferred to transfer the burden on to the common people. So much so that it has decided to withdraw the concession of Rs 50 per month meant for the BPL cardholders which they used to get earlier. As a result, now the BPL cardholders too will have to pay for the electricity they consume just like other common people. In order to lodge its protest against his burden, the CPI(M)’s state unit organised public hearings at Raipur and Bilaspur, and submitted memorandums to the electricity commissioner during these public hearings. However, while the people are expressing their anger, the government is not ready to listen anything. The party had earlier called for protest actions throughout the state. A signature campaign is also going on.


Recently, a report came in the newspapers that the security forces had burnt more than 300 houses and belongings of the poor tribals at Chintalnar in Bastar district. Some of their women were raped and murdered. Moreover, the security forces and Salwa Judum people did not allow any relief materials and outsiders to enter the affected areas. Even the collector and commissioner were not allowed to visit the spot. The local administration was completely helpless. It was reported that the district SSP, Kalluri, was the main culprit who had planned this nefarious act. Kalluri has indeed been a notorious police officer. During the anti-BALCO privatisation movement, he tried to break the workers’ resistance with a by massive lathicharge and had got many CITU leaders arrested. At another point of time, he tried to suppress a Kisan Sabha movement in Sarguja district. On occasions, he threatened several CPI(M) members and supporters of dire consequences if they remained with the party. However, instead of taking any stern action against this notorious police officer, the state government promoted him, made him a DIG at Sarguja district.


On the shameful incidence in Chintalnar, the state government remained silent for about 10 days. Nor did the media publish anything. The incidence took place on March 11, 12 and 16, 2011 but it came out in the newspapers on March 22 only. The people have the doubt that the state government is directly involved in this incidence. The crucial fact is that in the name of controlling the Maoist violence, the state government is regularly torturing the poor tribals in the state. The CPI(M) is the first party that immediately organised protest against this shameful incidence, demanding that all the culprits must be suspended and that a case of murder, loot, arsons, rape and burning should be filed for taking proper action. It also demanded that an all-party delegation must be sent to inquire into the incidence in order to bring the truth out, and that the government rebuild the houses of the poor tribals and give them adequate compensation for the loss of their belongings. It was because of the people’s pressure thus created that the state government had to ultimately order a judicial inquiry.


The CPI(M) has decided to expose the real character of the BJP government, including its anti-tribal policies. With these issues, the party will contact the people from April 15 to 27, by holding street corner, village level and gate meetings, cycle jathas, padayatras, dharnas, demonstrations, leaflet distribution etc. On April 21, a big state level dharna, demonstration and mass meeting will be held at Raipur in which party members and supporters from Raipur, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari and Bilaspur will participate. Party units in other districts will organise district level dharnas, demonstrations and mass meetings on April 27, at the respective district headquarters.