CITU Tamil Nadu Padayatra Crosses Fifth Day, Welcomed Spiritedly in Stop-Overs
The Krishnagiri mandal team reached Salem on 25 May / Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) Tamil Nadu padayatra was enthusiastically welcomed in the stop-overs with garlands, shawls, trophies, and arathis. They were provided with refreshments and local varieties of fruits. Cultural performances ranging from folk to hip-hop were held, reiterating the attacks on the rights of the working class.
On May 20, wearing caps and shoes, seven teams of CITU activists began their march against privatisation, demanding the abolition of contract systems, confirmation of an eight-hour working day and cancellation of the new pension scheme.
The Thiruvallur team raised the union flag at CMC Hospital, Vellore / Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
After touching all 38 districts of Tamil Nadu and covering 2,100 km over 10 days, they will conclude in a large public meeting in Trichy on May 30.
Various trade unions welcomed and accommodated the padayatra on their way, such as the primary school teachers union, insurance employees union, TASMAC employees union, ASHA workers union, the union of IT employees, transport workers union and many more. Mass organisations such as All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) expressed solidarity with the CITU campaign.
The CITU march stresses a 14-point demand against the pro-corporate, neo-liberal policies of the union government and its untold sufferings of the labouring class.
The padayatra raised slogans and distributed pamphlets against price-rise, unemployment, amendment of labour laws into pro-corporate laws, creation of non-permanent workers, the proliferation of contract labour and unfair exploitation of labour in the name of scheme workers.
The Cuddalore team was flagged off by CPI(M) MLA Nagai Mali / Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
Cooking gas had crossed Rs 1,200 from Rs 415 in 2014 when the Modi-led BJP government came to power. Prices of all food items like oil, pulses and rice skyrocketed in this period. People’s purchasing power has fallen drastically, and studies show that 90% of people have reduced their consumption.
Unemployment has risen to unprecedented levels. More than 9 lakh positions are vacant in the union government departments alone. Similar is the case with the state governments.
The Kanyakumari team was welcomed by the government employees union in Thoothukudi. /
Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
The padayatra reached out to people stating the union government was trying to unleash sectarianism and create conflict among the people. This diverts people from pressing livelihood issues and encourages the division of people based on religion, race, caste and region.
CITU insisted on violating democratic norms and attacked those who opposed the policies subverting constitutional rights.
The seven teams began their March from Chennai, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Thiruvallur, Kanyakumari, Thenkasi and Krishangiri.
The IT employees union welcomed the Chennai mandal CITU padayatra in south Chennai. / Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
The Kanyakumari mandal padayatra team crossed Thoothukudi on May 24.
The Krishnagiri mandal padayatra team reached Dharmapuri on May 24. They visited the Venmani martyrs' stupa, laid wreaths and paid respect to the martyrs.
The Coimbatore mandal team is heading east and crossing Pallapalayam, Udumalaipet May 24.
The Tenkasi team has crossed Koripalayam, Madurai and is headed north. / Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
The Thiruvallur team campaigned in Arcot, Ranipet district, on May 24 and is walking south towards Trichy.
The Cuddalore team marching towards south crossed Sikkal in Nagapattinam.
The Chennai team, which started from Thiruvotriyur, has crossed South Chennai and is marching further down.
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