INN Kolkata bureau

This is the page of the Kolkata bureau of the India News Network. The page also carries albeit occasionally a column on cultural developments here in the sub-continent and beyond.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Madonna of the Sea | New Writing | Granta Magazine

The Madonna of the Sea | New Writing | Granta Magazine

Bengal CPI (M) discusses pol-org report of state conference


The 33rd session of the Bengal state committee of the CPI (M) was held over 7-8 February at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan in Kolkata. Central committee member Benoy Konar presided. Biman Basu, state secretary placed the draft pol-org report of the upcoming state conference.

The state committee members discussed in critical detail the experience gathered from the conferences of the different district units held recently. The district conferences were articulated and informed by self-criticism and review.

The conferences laid weight on motivating the Party further at every level. There was stress placed on enhancing the level of quality of the various units with importance attached to a spread of political education deeper and wider.

The conferences reflected the strongly motivated resolve to carry the CPI (M) and the Left forward through struggles and movement in the face of adversity of circumstances.

The days between 15 and 19 February shall see the state conference taking place, the 23rd in a series, with the mass rally of the open session held at the brigade Parade grounds during the afternoon of 19 February.

The rally shall call for the preservation and enhancement of people’s hard-earned rights. The rally shall also give a call to the masses for the preservation of democracy and democratic norms.

It shall exhort upon the people to come forward in the task of ending political terror. The state committee calls upon all democratic people of Bengal to join the rally for the sake of democracy and for preserving their lives and livelihoods.

The 28th of February shall see general strike across the country at the call of the central units of the TUs. The state-level Left kisan organisation have decided to protest against the fresh of attacks brought down on the kisans and have called for a rural strike on the same day.

The state committee of the Bengal CPI (M) has called upon the masses to and upon every section of the working people contained within the mass of the people to make a complete success of the general strike in order to defend and preserve their vital interests of life and livelihood. The state committee calls for the continued building up of widest possible campaign across Bengal for making the strike an unprecedented success.

Monday, February 6, 2012

LF memorandum to food minister


A severe agrarian crisis has overtaken Bengal. The basic blame can be laid at the door of the Trinamul-led Bengal government. The government in the concerned department has been a crass failure in protecting kisans from the exigencies of what is becoming a free market dominated by urban and rural capital.

The media has reported a series of suicides by kisans who were not able to cope with the mounting debt in the private sector, a debt they had run up because of the falling crop prices. The rural prosperity, carefully, painstakingly built up during the three-and-a-half decades governance of the Left Front appears to undergone total, complete erosion.

The CPI (M), the Bengal Left Front, and the left and democratic forces including a section of media have been vocal in handing out a strong dose of critique to the state government for its virtual anti-kisan, anti-rural development policies.

Recently, the leader of the opposition and CPI (M) leader Dr Surjya Kanta Mishra led a delegation of Left Front legislators to demand from the Bengal government a direct purchase of paddy from the kisan at remunerative prices. The delegation communicated a memorandum to the food minister in this regard.

The memo noted that the process of direct purchase of paddy should be well participated in by the three-tier Panchayat institutions, the cooperative bodies, and the numerous self-help groups. The assisted price in every case must be paid in cash and at the instant, the government takes over the harvested crops. The process must be simplified from the one in practice.

The memo also drew attention to the fact that those without ration cards must be equipped with such cards immediately. The items falling under the central schemes of Annapurna and Antodaya must be supplied and distributed with a rigorous regularity.

The quality of food items in the ration chain must be checked to be good and the public distribution system must be further strengthened. The memo iterated the long-standing demand of the left that 14 commodities of essential consumption must be distributed through the public distribution system with a rational price regimen.

All poor people of the state must be supplied with BPL cards and items under the BPL scheme must be distributed to the beneficiaries throughout the year. Deprived of remunerative prices and unable to tackle the mounting debt from the mahajans and the sahukars, distraught kisans was taking their own lives in utter frustration. The cases must be investigated into and compensation in adequate measure provided, noted the Left memorandum.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Labour minister's bluff called

We of course are talking about the recent hukumnama of the Trinamul-run Bengal government. The concerned reference is to a series of very expected pronouncements by the labour minister – he of the ‘former’ Naxalite eponym.

As it has been borne out by the relentless stream of progress of history, those faithful of the infantile disordered ‘left,’ the ultras, the ‘left’ sectarians and their ilk, all, have a very and nothing-out-of-the-normal tendency to lurch to the political right given the first opportunity to do so. This is true especially as and when they crawl to an elected office.

Thus, we were not startled like some genteel, pristine souls, when the present labour minister, a resonant ‘former’ ‘Naxalite,’ invoked the imperialist law of the British colonial rule in India, as far back as to be of 1926 vintage, and chortled that he would not allow government employees to enjoy TU rights.

This right, we recall, had been allowed by the Bengal Left Front government in a well-thought-out GO of 1981, Hashim Abdul Halim as the Law Minister of the first Left Front government had steered the move in the cabinet and he told PD that the step was taken to ensure that the government employees enjoyed a full democratic functioning and were not drawn down by the fact that they were employed by the government. The TU right gave the employees the freedom to nurture and defend their right to life and livelihood.

This is the right that the present labour minister would like to nullify. The labour minister had also talked in the same vein about there being one association per one industry. These are moves, the CPI (M) leadership has conviction that the democratic masses would not take lying down in an act of passive political repose. A massive struggle would be launched under the stewardship of the CPI (M) and the left and democratic forces across the state once any nefarious anti-people initiatives would be taken.
In this connection one recalls the section 2 sub-section ‘s’ of the industrial disputes act of 11 march 1947. The act clearly states what defines a ‘workman’, contravening the labour minister’s contention that workers-employees were not ‘workmen’ in the industrial sense. Thus by giving the government employees TU rights, since long denied to them, the pro-people LF government was merely doing justice to the demands of history.

This is history that can be neither undone nor distorted, however much the labour minister, applauded by the chief minister, and resuscitated by a corporate media that egg such nefarious efforts on, do desperate bid to deprive the workers-employees of their hard-earned right. In this connection we bring to mid what the CPI (M) leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said recently speaking at one of the very many Party conferences he addresses across Bengal that contrary to the fond hopes of the bourgeoisie, there has been to ‘end of history.’ The mass struggle shall go relentlessly on.