People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXV

No. 44

October 30, 2011

Tripura Preparing for Intensive Campaign on 5-Point Demands

 

Haripada Das

 

IN response to the call of the CPI(M) Central Committee for a countrywide movement on crying five-point demands facing the people,  Tripura  is preparing for a week long campaign movement from November 1 to 7 coming. The five point demands charter includes:

 

1) Bringing down the soaring prices of essential commodities to the level the common man may afford.

2) Stern measures against those responsible for enormous corruption cases, and adoption of an effective Lokpal bill in the parliament.

3) Ensuring supply of fertilisers to the farmers at subsidised rates and immediate check to blackmarketing of fertilisers.

4) Strong steps to reduce the huge unemployment burden through recruitments to the vacant posts in the central government departments.

5) No to FDI in the retail trade as it may jeopardise the livelihood of lakhs of indigenous petty traders.

 

The programme of the movement was declared by the CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar at a crowded press conference in the state committee office on October 17. State secretariat member Gautam Das was also present at the press meet.  

 

Explaining the rationality and perspective of the movement, Bijan Dhar said even though the central government has drafted a bill on food security following persistent pressure from the Left and other parties, the present bill would hardly secure the food availability of the common people. The bill is, in essence, a departure from the electoral pledge of the Congress party itself of supplying 35 kg of rice/wheat per family at the rate of Rs 2 per kg, during the last Lok Sabha election. The bill suffers a structural defect and leaves scope for the centre to encroach upon the statesí rights enshrined in the constitution. The present bill would ultimately divide the poor and the middle class. The Left would vehemently protest against this bill, Bijan Dhar said. To effectively control the price rises, Bijan Dhar said 14 essential commodities must be supplied to the people through ration shops at a uniform rate throughout the country and the carrying cost of every article up to the ration shops should be borne by the central government, he demanded. It is astonishing that the same government which allowed tax rebates to the extent of Rs 21 lakh crore for the corporate giants in three years, is taking a rigid approach to feeding the poor countrymen, Dhar quipped.

 

In regard to the supply of fertilisers, Bijan Dhar said farming has become quite expensive today. Moreover, due to the liberalisation policies, foreign goods are entering our country at cheaper rates than those produced indigenously. Thus the peasants of the country fail to get even the production cost. During the last 20 years, public investment in agriculture sector has been reduced by 43 per cent even though 58 per cent of the countryís workforce is absorbed here. This hard fact has pushed lakhs of peasants of our country to utter frustration. That is why they prefer perishing themselves by committing suicide, Bijan Dhar pointed out. He also criticised the central government for leaving the fertilisers price fixation to private hands, following which the prices of fertilisers have gone up beyond the reach of the farmers.

 

In Tripura, unlike anywhere in the country, Bijan Dhar informed, 50 per cent of fertilisers are supplied by the state government and 25 per cent by the cooperative societies most of which are state government undertakings. Only the rest 25 per cent are supplied by private businessmen, and that too by licensed ones. In Tripura, there are rich reservoirs of natural gas which may be utilised for fertiliser production. But the central government is refusing to give its nod to establishing a gas-based fertiliser factory in Tripura.

 

As for retail trade, giant retailer WalMart has been invited in the country. In Andhra Pradesh, they are about to open their business.

 

The CPI(M) seeks to mobilise all sections of the people against these anti-people, pro-imperialist policies pursued by the central government through a week long intensive campaign in the first week of November. At the same time, the CPI(M) has also lent its wholehearted support to the Jail Bharo movement on November 8; it has been jointly called for by 11 central trade union organisations. The working people of the state will court arrest in thousands at each subdivisionís headquarters on the day.

 

This movement is likely to be a stepping stone for still bigger movements in future, Bijan Dhar confidently said.