(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 12, 2012
Huge Rally in Agartala Demands
‘Food Security for All’
EVEN as the four
Left parties were
continuing their sit in program in
Braving incessant rain, thousands of people took to the streets of Agartala at the call of the Left Front. The date of this central rally coincided with the day on which the Left Front government of Tripura started providing 35 kg of rice at Rs 2 per kg to about 2.95 lakh BPL and Antodaya card holders of the state.
The march started from Stable Ground, now renamed as Vivekananda stadium. CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar and other leaders of the Left Front led the march in the pouring rain. The march raised slogans in support of the demands of food security and called upon the centre to do away with the undue discrimination in the name of APL and BPL and ensure 35 kg of foodgrains are provided to all the households at a maximum price of Rs 2 per kg. Questions were raised, why the people are being left hungry while tonnes of foodgrain is rotting in the godowns of FCI. The place in front of Rabindra Bhavan turned out to be too small for the huge gathering. Despite the rain, people attended the meeting in a large numbers.
The meeting was presided over by state Left Front convener Khagen Das. Addressing the gathering, Brinda Karat pointed out that from today itself the Left Front government of the state has started giving 35 kg of rice at Rs 2 per kg to 2.95 lakh BPL cardholder families. If Tripura with its meagre resources can take this bold step, why can’t the Congress-led central government provide 35 kg of foodgrains to all the families in the country at that price, she questioned. The CPI(M) leader wanted to know how many of the Congress-ruled state governments have implemented such a program.
Lambasting the UPA-II government, she said they have enough resources to gift the corporates a tax holiday of over Rs 5 lakh crore, but are unwilling to spend money to universalise the PDS and assure food security to the people of the country. Around 65 per cent of dalits, 55 per cent of tribals and 52 per cent of agricultural workers do not have BPL cards. This means that a majority of the poor are left out from even the targeted PDS. While 8 crore tonnes of foodgrain are rotting in the godowns, the government stubbornly refuses to distribute it to the poor. Quite contrarily, they are exporting the grains for use as cattle feed in the foreign countries.
Coming down heavily on the faulty yardstick adopted by the Planning Commission for determining below poverty line (BPL), she said this shocking yardstick is an insult to the poor. As per Planning Commission, those who earn more than Rs 32 a day in urban areas and Rs 26 a day in rural areas are not considered BPL. The so-called Food Security Bill being brought by the centre would legalise the unjust division of the poor in the name of APL and BPL, she said and reminded how a number of states are opposing the Bill.
Holding the Congress
responsible for the unabated farmer suicides in the country,
Karat slammed its
reluctance to implement the Swaminathan Commission’s
to determining the price of crops and procuring it from the
farmers. With the
spiraling price rise, the demand for universal PDS and
provision of 35 kg of
foodgrains at Rs 2 per kg has become all the more justified.
She said the
Congress party has attained the dubious record of plunging the
unprecedented corruption. “
CPI(M) state secretary Bijan demanded that the centre must provide funds for the programme the Left Front government of Tripura launched the same day -- of providing 35 kg of foodgrains to Rs 2 per kh to around 3 lakh BPL families. He said the Congress party in the state is opposing this initiative of LF government from a narrow partisan outlook. Their ‘Mission 2013’ (the assembly elections) is a mix of anti-poor, anti-youth, and pro-terrorist policies. Ours is the vision for the development of the state.”
Dhar said the Left Front had started a vigorous political campaign on the 14-point charter of demands, among which many relate to food security, from March 11 of this year. It was decided to hold 15,000 meetings at the grassroots level, but surpassing the target the Party held 22,000 meetings. In the course of this campaign, 5665 persons from 1963 families have joined hands with Left Front severing their ties with Congress and INPT. He traced the opposition of Congress to LF government’s decision to supply foodgrains at Rs 2 per kg to that party’s anti-poor class outlook. He called for further strengthening the Left movement in the state and defeating the opposition’s campaign to mislead and antagonise the peasants and middle class against the Left Front.
Khagen Das in his speech said that hunger deaths in the state were eradicated during the Left Front rule through its pro-poor policies. He charged the Congress of entering into an unholy nexus with the extremists in order to create anarchy in the state in the run-up to assembly elections. He also slammed it for engaging in a slander campaign against chief minister and leaders of the Left Front. People of the state shall not tolerate this, he asserted.
Among others who spoke included CPI leader Ranjit Majumdar, RSP state secretary Sudarshan Bhattacharya and AIFB central committee member Naren Chatterjee.