People's Democracy

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


No. 03

January 15, 2012



CITU Holds Massive Workers Rally at Bhubaneswar


Ramesh Jena


ON December 28, the Odisha state committee of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) organised a massive rally and meeting of workers at state capital Bhubaneswar and it turned out to be an unprecedented rally of the downtrodden sections of the people of Odisha. Through this rally, these people demanded an increase in minimum wages, opening of iron ore mines that lie closed, employment for the retrenched and unemployed, and effective implementation of labour laws. They also demanded that the demands of the mid-day meal workers, Anganwadi and ASHA workers, Krusak Sathi and Shakti Sahayikas, construction workers etc as well as of the contract workers in organised industries must be conceded.


Permanent as well as contract workers from public sector enterprises like steel and coal, NTPC, coal, NALCO, port and dock, mines, transport, construction and other sectors and also the unorganised sector workers like Anganwadi workers, Mid-day meal workers, ASHA workers, Krusak Sathis and Sakti Sahayikas joined the rally. Women workers, who form a large part of these workers, joined the rally in a good number.


On the day, people numbering more than 15,000 took out a colourful procession that started from the Bhubaneswar railway station and culminated in a mass meeting in front of the state assembly. Those who addressed it included CITU secretary K Hemlata as well as state level leaders of the CITU like Sivaji Patnaik, Janardan Pati, Bishnu Mohanty, R R Sarangi and others. The speakers, among other things, stressed the importance of the proposed all-India strike on February 28, 2012 and appealed to the working class and other people of Odisha to make this strike a grand success in their own interest.


A delegation of CITU leaders later submitted a 22 point memorandum to the chief minister of Odisha. The memorandum demanded, among other things, immediate opening of the closed mines, employment to the retrenched workers, enhancement of minimum wages to Rs 200 a day, and effective implementation of labour law. The delegation had also a discussion with the chief secretary of the government of Odisha in relation to these demands. Delegations of union leaders also met some ministers and various commissioners and secretaries to discuss the burning problems facing different sections of workers in the state.