Hyderabad: The Telangana unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) began ‘Karmika Karshaka Poru Yatra’ — a campaign tour — against the “anti-worker”, “anti-farmer” policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party led Central Government. Ten teams of trade union leaders and farmers will be campaigning for the next fourteen days across districts appealing people to join their movement against the current regime.
“Workers and farmers have registered their opposition against the four Labour Codes and three Farm Laws through multiple agitations, strikes and continuous protests but the BJP government is unhesitating in neglecting their concerns. They are now left with no other option but to agitate to protect their jobs and their livelihood,” said Srikanth, a CITU leader from the state, while addressing a gathering before the yatra commenced in Hyderabad.
The yatra is to extend support to the cause of the protesting farmers who are part of the ongoing nationwide farmers’ movement, said Paladugu Bhaskar, Telangana CITU secretary. “If the three new Farm Laws are implemented, farmers from Telangana will face the threat of turning into labourers while 25 lakh tenant farmers and agriculture workers in the state may lose their source of livelihood. With the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 the Central Government intends to stop electricity subsidies to SCs, STs and farmers,” said Bhaskar. He demanded that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government pass resolutions in the state assembly against the Farm Laws and the Labour Codes.
The yatra was started by former MLC Nageswar Rao in Hyderabad; All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leader Sarampally Mallareddy kick-started the rally in Warangal district and former MLA Julakanti Rangareddy in Khammam district.
Meanwhile, in support of the ongoing farmers’ movement, peasants’ organisations have been jointly organising various forms of protest demonstrations, including dharnas, rallies and hunger strikes across the state.
CITU leader Venkatesh called upon the construction workers to join their campaign against the BJP’s policies. “Trade unions have been demanding that the government grants Rs 7,500 per month to jobless construction workers. Joblessness has pushed them to the streets and the state government must provide 10 kgs of food per person per month to their families,” he said.
“Instead of asking third party contractors to hire construction workers for government work like laying roads or for infrastructure projects, the government must facilitate the formation of district wise societies of construction workers and allot work directly to the societies,” Venkatesh proposed.
“The government must take responsibility for the deaths of farmers by suicides and on account of their health,” said Julakanti Rangareddy while addressing a public gathering in Khammam. He pointed out that the Labour Codes and Farm Laws were not only harmful to the workers and farmers but that they would have a long-term adverse impact on the Indian economy and its people.
Extending support to the Yatra, Telangana Rythu Sangham General Secretary Tegala Sagar said that the laws, which do not ensure a Minimum Support Price (MSP), “will only be useful to corporates in extorting farmers. It will result in an increase in deaths due to hunger. By taking away the rights of workers in the form of the labour codes, the Modi government is conspiring to favour corporates. There is a need for all sections of people to fight against the injustice to workers and farmers,” said Sagar.
Paladugu Bhaskar, the coordinator of the yatra, said that ten teams of activists will cover multiple districts to explain their concerns with the laws.
According to the CITU leaders, the yatra is to intensify the ongoing workers and farmers’ agitation against the “anti-people” and “pro-corporate” policies of the Central Government.
In Khammam district, trade union activists collected donations to support the farmers’ protest at Delhi’s borders.