People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 49

December 06, 2009

ASSAM

Kisan Sabha Holds State Conference at Sorbhog

 

Abul Hussain

THE Assam state unit of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) held its 21st conference at Sorbhog town in Barpeta district on October 31 and November 1 and 2. Five jathas comprising hundreds of kisans and rural folk from different parts of Barpeta district, carrying red flags, banners and placards and shouting slogans on kisan demands, had converged at the conference venue on October 31 noon.

The All India Kisan Sabha’s red flag was unfurled by senior kisan and political leader Hemen Das who reminded the delegates and others present about the glorious history of All India Kisan Sabha since 1936 and urged them to build up a strong Kisan Sabha in Assam in order to fight back the injustice and exploitation heaped on the peasantry by both domestic and outside reactionary forces. The conference felicitated the near relations of 18 martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of the toiling peasantry. The martyrs column was garlanded by the delegates led by AIKS and AIAWU central office bearers, Noorul Huda and Hannan Mollah, who attended the Assam state kisan conference as central observers and principal open session speakers. The conference began at 5 p m and was conducted by a presidium comprising Hemen Das, Nizamuddin Khan and Purno Bodo. Three hundred and two elected delegates attended the conference, of whom five were women.

While inaugurating the conference, Noorul Huda talked of the democratic functioning of All India Kisan Sabha right from the basic unit (i.e. primary committees) to the highest forum; delegates are elected after thorough discussions on the draft report placed by the outgoing committees. Secondly, he touched upon the acute agrarian crisis caused by the pro-landlord, pro-rich and neo-liberal policies of the central government as well as non-Left state governments, as a result of which millions of kisan families have been suffering from landlessness, hunger and deprivations. During the last 8-10 years, nearly two lakh farmers were forced to commit suicides mainly because of their inability to return the loan money to the private moneylenders. He reminded the delegates that as long as capitalism exists, basic problems faced by the farmers and working people cannot be solved. Because of the resistance to the neo liberal policies by working class, peasantry and other toiling people all over India the reactionary anti-peasant forces have been furiously attacking movements of workers, peasants and other toiling sections represented by the Left and other democratic forces. There is no alternative but to forge peasant unity and launch powerful struggles on the basis of various issues affecting the peasants.

The outgoing general secretary of the Assam State Kisan Sabha, Khem Chhetry, introduced the draft report detailing the issues like floods, drought, erosion, NREGA, irrigation, panchayats raj, problem of small tea planters’ remunerative prices and other acute problems because of neo-liberal policies pursued by central and the Assam state government led mainly by Indian National Congress (INC). He said that floods and latest drought situation in the state have damaged crops in approximately nine lakh hectares of cultivatable land which would adversely affect and pauperize the lives and living of lakhs and lakhs of peasant families. Regarding implementation of NREGA in 2008-09 only 7895 families in Assam got work for 100 days. Corruption is rampant both in NREGA projects and in functioning of the panchayat raj system in Assam. As regards irrigation during the last 62 years, the state government arranged irrigation only for six per cent of the cultivatable land.

As many as 54 delegates, including 2 women, took part in the debate on general secretary’s report, describing their experiences in various districts regarding the burning problems affecting the peasantry and how the Kisan Sabha units had tried their best to select issues and build up movements against the exploiters and central and state governments’ anti-farmer and anti-poor policies. They assured the conference that they would take all measures to strengthen the Kisan Sabha organisation and build up powerful movement in their respective districts. All delegates including the leadership agreed that the state and district Kisan Sabha centres should have more wholetimers to strengthen the organisation. 

Resolutions were adopted on land problems, irrigation, floods and control of rivers, NREGA, price rise of inputs and all essential commodities, public distribution system and insurgency. The conference unanimously adopted the report and elected a State Kisan Council of 59 members with Nizamuddin Khan as president and Khemraj Chhetry as general secretary. It also elected 22 members, including one woman, as delegates to the 32nd all-India kisan conference at Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) scheduled to be held from January 7 to 10, 2010. Addressing the delegates, Hannan Mollah urged them to approach the poor peasants and agricultural workers in a big way, forge unity, launch big movements against the exploiting classes and resist the most harmful neo-liberal polices of the central government and Assam state government.

A seminar on “Impact of Globalization on Agriculture” was organised and addressed among others by Hannan Mollah. On the occasion of the conference, a massive procession of the peasants was organised, followed by a massive public meeting in a nearby stadium’s open field. It was addressed by Hemen Das, Noorul Huda, Hannan Mollah and Uddhab Barman. It was a memorable public meeting drawing a gathering of more than 15 thousand poor landless peasant and agricultural workers from Barpeta and the adjoining districts.