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Bengal: Thousands Turn up for Rajbhawan Abhiyan in Kolkata Called by CTUs, SKM

As part of the three-day nationwide Mahapadav call, workers and peasants pledged to campaign against ‘corporate-communal nexus”.

Skm TU rally today in Kolkata. 

Kolkata: Thousands of workers, peasants and agricultural labourers converged in Kolkata on Tuesday, the last day of the three-day protest call by the joint platform of central trade unions (CTUs) and Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM).

The gathering served an ultimatum to the Union government to “rectify” its “anti-worker” and “anti-farmer” policies and threatened to intensify the protests if the government failed to do so.

The CTUs and SKM also criticised the state government for continuing its “anti-people” measures.

Talking to NewsClick about the farming conditions in the state, Asit Sheet, a farmer from Memary of Burdwan district, said in his seven-bigha land he had planted a ‘khas’ variety of rice. “Earlier, the government used to exempt it from tax, but now a steep 20% tax has been imposed. Earlier a 60kg paddy sack used to sell for Rs 2,900 (even last year). It has now come down to Rs 1,500 per basta (60 kg sack).  

NewsClick also spoke with Babon Halder, a sacked employee of security staff of an IDBI ATM, who said he had come to the dharna  venue with his colleagues, wearing badges mentioning that over 300 of such employees had been sacked for demanding their provident fund dues for 13 months and three months of pending salaries.

Addressing the protesters, Tapan Sen, general secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions, accused the Central government run by Narendra Modi of “corporate and communal nexus”. 

Resistance should take place on the ground against such policies adopted by the government, said Sen, citing the examples of struggles against installation of smart electricity meters in Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Puducherry.   


Sen said only defiance and resistance would pave the way for a brighter future, adding that with “large scale poverty, no country can prosper.”

In his speech, SKM leader Hannan Mollah of the All -ndia Kisan Sabha blamed both the Central and West Bengal government for the “all out loot” taking place in West Bengal.  He said throughout the country, five lakh farmers and 40,000 agricultural labourers had died by suicide in the past few years. “Such is condition of the farming sector of the country…. The people will thwart this treacherous assault on them.”

Mollah reminded the gathering of the historic struggle of farmers, which brought together 500 organisations that joined hands to form the SKM.  “Now, SKM is active in 22 states and today’s programme of reaching the Governor’s house and submitting a memo of demands was done because of the fact that now Governors are not Central representatives but RSS stooges”.

The AIKS leader called upon SKM activists and trade unionists to take the handbill of this joint platform and reach every household in villages.

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