People's Democracy

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


No. 06

February 10, 2013


A Testimony to Pro-Poor Development



RAVIPALA Tripura is a 90 year old tribal living in Maikrosa para village in Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar's constituency, Dhanpur. He has been living in this hilly village ever since he moved here from the neighbouring district Udaipur in 1949. He narrated an interesting anecdote about the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war. The Indian Army while marching towards the border had an altercation with the local villagers. The Army kept demanding from the villagers to show the location of the road through the village towards border and the villagers kept saying there was actually no such road. It took some time for the Army people to realise that in the corrupt Congress regime the road existed only on paper and not in reality!


Another bit of history conveyed to us was about the origin of the name of the village. Mai in the tribal Kokborok language means 'rice' and Krosa means 'not available'. This remote village got this name as it was virtually without any food and many had died of starvation deaths in the 1960s. Ravipala told me how he managed during those tough times by moving out of the village and living in a relief centre run by the Communist Party. The entire area was a dense forest with wild elephants in it and just a trekking path leading into the village.


But that was history. Today, as we drove into the village on a black top mountain road, at the entrance we found a group of boys and girls dressed in blue and white uniforms trooping into a government high school. Jagatjivan Tripura, who teaches History and English subjects in the school, informed us that there are a total of 88 students studying in classes 6 to 10. The same building is used as a primary school in the morning hours from 7:30 to 10:30. He had studied in the same school as a student upto 8th standard and completed his graduation from Udaipur. He was recruited as a teacher in 2010 and was recently posted in his own village. We later got to know that he is the younger son of Ravipala Tripura! The school has six teachers and one head master to take care of the students.


Across the school was a newly built Primary Health Centre that appeared to be too big for a PHC. It was more like a medium level hospital. Besides it, we saw two buildings being constructed and on enquiry found that they were the proposed staff quarters. Dr Debashis Ghose, who completed his MBBS from Agartala Government Medical College, informed that a total of 20 staff member work in this PHC, which includes two MBBS doctors and one Homeopath doctor from NRHM. The PHC has a pathological lab to conduct investigations apart from a labour room, minor Operation Theatre and inpatient facility for 10 beds. On an average the PHC gets 15 cases a day, mostly relating to viral infections, respiratory tract infections etc. Here also we found a connection to Ravipala Tripura. The new PHC is built on the 2-acre land donated by Ravipala.One of my eight daughters died when she was six years old due to non-availability of medical help. I gave away my land to the PHC in memory of her as it will prevent recurrence of such tragedies, he told us.


Dhanpur constituency has been electing CPI(M) candidates from 1972. Samar Chaudhury, who was state home minister, represented the constituency five times till 1998 when he contested for the Lok Sabha. Manik Sarkar first contested from here in 1998 and has been continuosly winning ever since. The Congress candidate Saha Alam is a local leader who is doing a vigorous door-to-door campaign to take on the chief minister who visited the constituency once after the announcement of polls and addressed one meeting. There are also allegations against the Congress candidate is trying to bribe the voters and trying to bias them on communal lines. The CPI(M) cadre are moving door-to-door canvassing in favour of Manik Sarkar. They are confident that the winning margin of Manik Sarkar will definitely be higher than what it was 2008. He will campaign in the constituency on 08th and 11th February also.


The chief minister often underlines that the Left Front is committed to the upliftment of the poorest of the poor. The development visible in Maikrosa para and elsewhere in the state is a testimony to translation of that commitment into action. There is therefore hardly any doubt about the outcome of February 14 battle of ballots.


From N S Arjun

In Dhanpur, February 6, 2014