People's Democracy

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


No. 17

April 29, 2012

Left Mass Organisations Conduct

Five-Day Jathas in West Bengal


From Our

Special Correspondent


ALL Left mass organisations in West Bengal have jointly conducted a five day jatha programme throughout the state on the crucial issues of the people. The five day programme included holding of rallies, jathas at block and village level and deputations to Block and Sub Divisional offices. Though the focus was on the villages, rallies and mobilisations took place in towns and cities also.


Among the 17-point charter of demands, the farmersí plight has been given priority. The agricultural sector in the state is undergoing a serious crisis. Forty nine peasants and sharecroppers have committed suicide in the last seven months. The peasants are not getting fair prices for their produce  and the state government has miserably failed in procurement. On the other hand, the prices of agricultural inputs, including fertilizers, have skyrocketed. The Left mass organisations have demanded fair prices for farmersí produces, bringing down of fertilizer price and adequate compensation for the families of those who have committed suicide.


One of the major demands is the inclusion of all poor people in BPL category. This has been a long standing demand but it has become more crucial in the backdrop of severe food price rise and decreasing rate of work. In West Bengal under the new regime, MNREGA has suffered a serious blow and even the central government has expressed dissatisfaction. With panchayats becoming toothless and many hundreds of them forcibly made non-working, the rural development and employment generation have also suffered. Left mass organisations have raised the demand of work in rural areas. They have demanded continuation of social security schemes and pensions initiated by the Left Front government. One of the major demand is to allow the elected panchayats to work without obstacles.


Before the assembly elections, Trinamool Congress had promised jobs for all and had gone to the extent of promising ten lakh jobs very quickly. Now that this government has crossed eleven months, the reality is grim. Not only the provision of new jobs has dwindled, even state government has employed retired persons in governmental jobs. The workers and employees of some sectors, including state transport, are under threat of losing their work. Left youth and student organisations have organized a huge rally in Kolkata on April 21 demanding jobs. In jathas too, the demand for jobs were raised.


In TMC-raj, the security of women has come under grave threat. Almost every day, incidents of rape, molestation or other kinds of attacks on women are being perpetrated. The Left mass organisations have strongly protested these attacks.


The attacks on educational institutions have become rampant, creating anarchy in them. Moreover, the state government has unleashed direct attack on the autonomy of the universities and colleges. The new University Act is designed to curb educational freedom. The Left mass organisations have demanded the withdrawal of the Act and guaranteeing peaceful environment in the educational institutions.     


All these demands have culminated in the slogan of defending democracy in the state and immediate halt to political terror.


The entire state is reeling under intense heat wave. Despite that, thousands of people have participated in the rallies and mobilisations.