People's Democracy

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


No. 38

September 23, 2012




Over a Lakh People Mobilised to Demand Food Security

                                                                                                           Rahul Sinha


MORE than one lakh people came out in the streets all over Tripura on September 13, to demand food security for all and get prepared for further militant movements.


While the Food Security Day was observed in other parts of the country on September 12, the programme in Tripura was postponed by the Left Front for a day as a mark of political courtesy, as the Congress had (though much later) decided to hold its “March to the Secretariat” on the same date.


On September 13, mass sit-in programmes were organised at 104 places in front of the central government establishments. These two hour long programmes were a huge success at all the places, with more than one lakh people participating in them.


In Agartala, the central mass sit-in programme was organised in front of the Akashvani Bhavan. The streets in front of the Akashvani Bhavan were crowded with thousands of people thronging the venue. Here the dharna participants were addressed by the CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar, Left Front Committee convener Khagen Das and other leaders of the Left Front.


Bijan Dhar pointed out that the much touted food security bill of the central government is still at the backburner. On the other hand, the Left Front government of Tripura has taken two important decisions to ensure food security for the whole state population. According to these decisions, 2.95 lakh BPL cardholder families are getting 35 kg of rice at Rs 2 per kg and the BPL enlisted families will get rice at the same price. However, in spite of having deposited money in advance, the state is not getting the allotted amount of rice. Reiterating the demands of the Food Security Day, Bijan Dhar said all the families, irrespective of the APL and BPL division, must be given 35 kg of rice at two rupees per kg. The other demands are that the fraudulent criteria of BPL selection must be scrapped, recommendations of the Swaminathan commission should be implemented, the cash transfer system should be cancelled and the public distribution system should be strengthened and universalised.


On September 12, the Congress leaders had said that a parivartan in Tripura in the coming election is inevitable if Mrs Sonia Gandhi so desired. Reacting to it, Bijan Dhar queried: Then, why the all powerful High Command of the Congress party does not desire to provide give 35 kg of rice to all the families at two rupees per kg or to solve the problem of unemployment? He said the Left Front government of Tripura is spending a lot of money for food security, employment and effective implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. But the Congress party terms it as misuse of funds. However, the same Congress party sees no misuse of public exchequer when the Congress led UPA government at the centre gives the corporate houses a tax bonanza of 5.28 lakh crore.


Dhar said a change in Tripura would happen only when the people of Tripura desire so and not when Mrs Gandhi wishes. We will go to the masses. In the elections of 2013, the people of the state would write a new history by electing the Left Front for the seventh time and with a greater majority than what the front now has. The struggle for food security is also a part of this struggle for electing the seventh Left Front government.


Left Front convener Khagen Das said the Congress might dream of anything but in reality they are being routed all over the country. In Bihar they got merely four seats and in UP they were defeated in the assembly segments of Amethi and Raebareli. In 2014 they would likely be wiped out not only from the centre but from those states also which they are ruling. They had promised a food security legislation and control on the prices of food items within the first 100 days of the UPA-2 government. But, where have these promises gone? This regime of the UPA has become synonymous with corruption and plunder of national resources. When the CAG raised questions about this loot, it began to be targeted by the PM himself. Das said the movement for food security would not end with this programme; it would continue till the demands are met.


CPI state secretary Prashanta Kapali, RSP state secretary Sudarshan Bhattacharya and AIFB state secretary Shyamal Ray also addressed the gathering.