(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 12, 2013
LDF to Launch Massive Struggle
THE Left Democratic Front (LDF) of Kerala has decided to launch a massive struggle against the state government of the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) whose policies have plunged the state into an unprecedented crisis. The focus of the struggle will be on the policies regarding privatisation of the water supply scheme and an acute power shortage.
Meeting at Thiruvananthapuram on May 5, leaders of the LDF decided to hold a sit-in at the Kerala Secretariat and in front of all district collectorates on May 27. The LDF will observe a DECEIT DAY on May 18, i.e. the second anniversary of the present UDF government. LDF convener Vaikom Vishwan said that apart from the LDF leaders, MLAs and MPs would attend the dharna at the State Secretariat and LDF members in local self-government bodies would attend the dharnas at district headquarters. On the proposed Deceit Day the people who hold rallies at various centres while wearing black badges.
This Kerala-wise struggle is to be organised in the backdrop of the government’s decision to launch a PPP model company to supply drinking water and against its inaction to overcome the power crisis. The state is now facing a severe shortage of drinking water and electricity. The unprecedented spate of load shedding has led to temporary closure of several small scale industries and shops. Huge hikes in power tariff have also added to the burden on the people.
The proposed pro-corporate ‘reform’ in water sector has evoked widespread protest from the people of the state. Along with the move at privatisation of this sector came a tampering of the Kerala Water Supply Act which was passed when K Karunakaran was the chief minister.
At present all the BPL families get 10 kilolitres of free water; 15 lakh families get water through 2,05,000 public taps. This whole system is come under threat because of the new privatisation move.
IN POWER TARIFF
The people of Kerala, who amid the scorching heat have been left powerless with the announced and unannounced power cuts, recently received a big blow with the huge hikes in power tariff. As the UDF government endorsed the power regulatory commission’s recommendation to phase out the slab system in fixing the tariff, the new rates came into effect on May 1. This was the second hike in nine months.
As per the new rates, households consuming 41 to 300 units per month will have to cough out six percent more than earlier. In this category there are 42 lakh households. Previously the price per unit was Rs 1.50 for up to 40 units and Rs 2.40 for the next 41 to 80 units. As per the new tariff rate, the consumers in this category will have to pay Rs 2.20 per unit.
The subscribers whose power consumption exceeds 300 units but is less than 350 units per month will have to pay Rs five per unit. If the consumption exceeds 400 units per month, the new rate will be Rs 5.50 per unit while it will be Rs six for 500 units per month or above.