People's Democracy

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


No. 02

January 13, 2013





CITU State Conference Successfully Concludes


                                                P R Krishnan


HELD at Chandrapur in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, the three day long 13th Maharashtra state conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) reached its successful culmination with the election of an 82 member general council and a 35 member executive for the state. The conference re-elected Narsayya Adam Master as the president and Dr D L Karad as the general secretary of the state unit of the CITU while K R Raghu is the treasurer. Besides the president, general Secretary and treasurer, the executive committee includes seven vice presidents and eight secretaries.


A notable feature on the concluding day was a mass rally organised in the heart of the city on December 30.


The three day state conference started on December 28, with flag hoisting by K L Bajaj, vice president of the state CITU, and floral tributes by the delegates to the martyrs in the conference ground. The venue for the conference in Chandrapur, a backward district, was the famous Kanyaka Sabhagraha at Kasturba Road. The organisers gave the conference locality the name of the INA heroine Captain Lakshmi Sehgal, while the meeting hall bore the name of Comrade M K Pandhe. The dais was named after renowned cine actor A K Hangal who himself was once a trade union organiser. The roads and streets leading to and the area around the conference hall were decorated with red banners, festoons and flags. Chandrapur in Maharashtra adjoins the Naxalite infested Gadchiroli district. Chandrapur and another nearby district, Gondia, are known for their coal mines and are also termed as Naxalite areas in Maharashtra.


The proceedings of the conference started with introductory remarks by the reception committee secretary Prof Rameshchandra Dahiwade and welcome address by its chairman S H Baig. CITU state president Narsayya Adam Master chaired the conference. The first item on the agenda was a resolution paying homage to the leaders and cadres who struggled and sacrificed their lives for the cause of working class and also for the leaders of the progressive, democratic and secular movement who passed away during the period since the last state conference held at Aurangabad in February 2010. The 13th state conference in Maharashtra was held as a prelude to the five day long, 14th all-India conference of the CITU scheduled to be held at Kannur in Kerala on April 4 to 8, 2013.


CITU general secretary Tapan Sen and CITU secretary Dr K Hemalata attended the conference on behalf of the CITU centre and guided its proceedings throughout. Tapan Sen inaugurated the conference. The inaugural session was open to the media and general public. In his address Tapan Sen drew the attention of the participants to the prevailing scenario in the country as well in the international arena. Tapan Sen pointed out the grim situation faced by the workers in the capitalist countries on account of the economic crises due to onslaught of the imperialist forces and multinational corporations. Referring to the Indian situation Sen said despite several protest actions, the Congress led UPA government remained unmoved towards people’s plight. Moreover, the Congress and its allies are deeply involved in corruption scams. In spite of the Supreme Court direction the government continues to be adamant and does not bother to disclose the names of the black money holders in foreign banks. This is apart from giving huge budgetary concessions to the industrial houses and business lobbies. The BJP led NDA government’s record in this regard in any way was not different from that of the Congress and its allies, said Sen. The working class have had 14 all-India strikes against liberalisation policies of the BJP led and Congress led governments in last 18 years. The last strike in this series was the one organised in February 2012, in which more than 12 crore people participated. This was a historic protest action in which even the INTUC had to join hands with the other trade union organisations. But even after all these splendid strikes the government has taken no steps to reverse its anti-people measures.


Referring to the Maharashtra situation, Sen reminded the delegates that though there is an increase in the CITU membership, it is more from among unorganised sector workers. He pointed out that the organised sector industries in the state has a labour force of more than 12 lakh and therefore the CITU should pay more attention to attract workers from this sector while continuing to organise the unorganised workers. Maharashtra has a glorious record in the history of working class struggles starting with the freedom movement days. He expressed the hope that working class of   Maharashtra shall be in the forefront during the proposed all-India strike on February 20-21 coming.


In his presidential address, Narsayya Adam Master pointed out how the state and central governments were violating their own promises and mounting attacks on the people. He said on the one side the government promises upliftment of the aam admi but on the other goes on inflicting more and more miseries on them. He explained how the NCP-INC coalition government in Maharashtra and the Congress led UPA government at the centre are bent upon  curtailing labour rights and hard-earned benefits of the working class, but at  the same time lavishing many-times increased perks, salaries and other facilities on MLAs, MPs and ministers. Narsayya Adam Master therefore said this trend can be stopped only by and through united actions of toiling masses. He said the CITU must take up the responsibility to get the working class prepared for actions.


After the presidential address, the session elected a resolutions committee, a credentials committee and a minutes committee, each comprising three members. 


In all there were 15 resolutions, which were passed unanimously. The first in that series was one condemning the brutal rape of a girl in a running bus Delhi. Condoling her death, the resolution called for exemplary punishment to the culprits.


The most important item in the conference agenda was the state general secretary’s report that was already circulated among the delegates. The report, placed by the state general secretary Dr D L Karad, reviewed the developments which took place on the trade union front in the state since the last conference at Aurangabad in February 2010. Dr Karad dealt with in detail the prevailing industrial scenario and economic situation in the state and the problems facing the working class. He said though we have organisationally made progress since 2010, it is not sufficient, and emphasised the point that the CITU has to strive hard to increase its membership in the organised sector while giving importance to the unorganised sector workers and contract workers. He further pointed out that while struggling for protection of the existing rights of the working class, we have to strive hard to draw new sections of workers in our fold. He said the state CITU leadership has to make special efforts for widening trade union unity to effectively check the capitalist onslaughts. We have to guard against imperialist infiltration in our economy and politics.


Dr Karad concluded his speech by placing a 12 point programme for implementation by the new state committee. This included the following: (1) to intensify the working class struggle against the policy of globalisation, liberalisation, contractisation, casualisation, and to compel the state and central governments to retrace its steps. (2) to effectively intervene in the movement for protection of women from attacks, to safeguard the rights of dalits, adivasis and minorities, (3) to make the coming all-India strike a big  success, for which the CITU state committee has to organise joint campaigns with other trade unions, (4) to give adequate attention to organising workers in organised  industries, public sector  industries, municipal corporations and other government services as well as in the unorganised sector, (5) to make all-out efforts to organise education programme for TU activists on various issues affecting the working class, and (6) to make all-out efforts for getting working class representatives elected to the state assembly election in Maharashtra and in the parliamentary elections in 2014.


Dr Hemalata drew attention of the delegates to various issues facing the working class, making special reference to the problems confronting women employees on various fronts. She pinpointed how the unorganised women workers had been fighting for better service conditions, increased wages and welfare schemes. She also reminded the delegates that the quality of work by the state and district committees needed to be improved.


Fraternal delegates invited to the conference then greeted the delegates. They included Sukumar Damale (general secretary Maharashtra state council, AITUC), Kumar Shiralkar (state president, Agricultural Workers Union), Kiran Moghe (state president, All India Democratic Women’s Association), Shankarrao Danav (state secretary, All India Kisan Sabha), Vinod Govindwar (state secretary, Students Federation of India) and Bhagwan Bhojane (state president, Democratic Youth Federation of India).


The income and expenditure accounts reports of the state CITU for the last three years were placed by state secretary Hemkant Samant.


In all, 86 delegates took part in the discussion on the general secretary’s report. Of them, 21 were women. After reply by Dr Karad, the delegates unanimously adopted the report and the accounts.


Tapan Sen delivered the summing up speech.


For the open rally, the enthusiastic participants collected at Kasturba Road junction near the conference hall and began marching with red flags and banners, raising slogans. Several groups of workers joined the procession en route. Moving through all the main thoroughfares of Chandrapur city, the procession reached the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel College ground, the venue of the public rally. “This famous college ground which had witnessed many public meetings in the past had not seen such a huge rally” was the comment made by onlookers around this historic maidan. Tthe participants in this huge rally were predominantly women with red saris, blouses and red caps. Narsayya Adam Master presided over the rally that was addressed among others by Tapan Sen, Dr Hemalata, Narsayya Adam Master, Dr D L Karad, Prof Rameshchandra Dahiwade, S H Baig and district committee member Rajesh Pijarkar. Addressing the rally, Tapan Sen said that after seeing a large assembly of women in red, he felt assured that this backward district of Chandrapur would be in the forefront of the working class movement in Maharashtra in future. Prominent amongst others who were on the dais were K L Bajaj and reception committee office bearers Sandhya Khanate and Sharda Nainagure.