WB: AIKS State Convention Calls for Cohesive Unity Among Workers, Farmers & Agrarian Labourers
Kolkata: All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) held its state convention at Moulali Yuva Kendra in the city on Thursday, August 18. AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah addressed the delegates and called for a more cohesive unity amongst the workers, farmers and agricultural labourers.
AIKS state president Biplab Majumdar presided over the convention. The convention finalised a list of 105 delegates to the upcoming AIKS all-India conference.
Samar Ghosh, an AIKS worker from the Burdwan East district, told NewsClick how paddy farmers in his region are struggling this year due to insufficient rain. He said that farmers are forced to rely solely on submersible pumps for farming, also creating issues due to lower groundwater levels.
"The entire farming process is unprofitable from the start as farmers have to use submersible pumps for about 1.5 hours to sow rice in one bigha land, which costs over Rs 1,500. Despite this, in the Burdwan East district, about 75% of paddy farming is somehow complete to date. Late sowing means the farmer will depend on rain in October when rain is scarce due to natural reasons. In our district and neighbouring Hooghly district, potato farmers have incurred losses as they are forced to take potatoes from the cold storage to the market at about Rs 150/palla, Rs 50 less than the production cost," he said.
Ghosh also foresees that the state will see an increase in rice prices in the coming days.
At the state convention, it was decided that AIKS would embargo before the district Magistrates' offices in all the districts of the state to inform the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government about the sad state of the affairs of the agricultural sector in the state and to force the government to take remedial measures.
Speaking at the convention, Amal Halder, state general secretary of AIKS, doubted the claims of the West Bengal government of coming to the aid of the marginalised sections of the society in the state and cited a survey done by the AIKS West Bengal unit, which has shown that 49.7% of all residents do not get any benefit of any government schemes in the state.
He further decried that since TMC came into power in 2011, it had directly attacked the farmers and agricultural labourers.
"Amidst this, the AIKS workers are leading a fight back in the state and taking part in endeavours to build up a farmers' movement," Halder said.
It can be recalled that in the last few months, the AIKS workers have been building up movements at the panchayat, block and district levels on different demands of the agrarian community of the state.
Speaking to NewsClick about the convention, Halder said, "In the recent months, there has been palpable anger against the current TMC government. The peasant movement in the state should use it to get an impetus. Before the upcoming panchayat polls, it is necessary to have a more cohesive unity on the ground level."
In his speech, Mollah talked about how the Central government was forced to repeal the three farms laws, but the government continued to create hurdles for the farmers.
"The Central government is not adhering to its assurances while repealing the three farm laws. In a committee where things essential to the policies of the farm sector of the country are being constituted, there are only three representatives of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), and it should not be construed that the other 27 representatives in the 30-member committee have any love lost for the agrarian community of the country. The government is now reintroducing the electricity bill in the country after giving false hope that the bill won't get reintroduced," Mollah said.
He also commented that the fight of the farmers in the movement is incomplete without the support of the country's workers, and the farmers' movement had won on the shoulders of this broad-based unity.
"It was thought that the Narendra Modi Government could not be defeated at one time. However, through their unified struggle, the farmers forced the Narendra Modi government to back down."
The convention was informed that on September 5, workers, farmers and agrarian labourers would gather in huge numbers in the Talkatora stadium in New Delhi to decide on the way ahead in struggles and movements in the country.
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