Kolkata: The West Bengal Left Front met on June 16 and called for observing a protest fortnight against the Narendra Modi-led central government for its role in price hike and rampant black marketing of essential commodities across the country even amid the pandemic.
Following the meeting on Wednesday, Left Front chairman Biman Basu told media that keeping with the call for protests given by five Left parties at the all India level, it will also be observed in the state till June 30.
Highlighting the sky-rocketing prices of commodities, Basu said that in the past one and a half months, the price of petroleum products have increase for a record 21 times. This in turn has led to the aggressive rise in prices of essential commodities due to increasing transportation costs. “Both, the prices of food crops and manufactured goods are witnessing a sharp expansion,” he added.
Centre’s Role in Price Rise and Black Marketing
The Left Front chairman also criticised the central government for not controlling the market forces, and giving a free hand to black marketers and hoarders throughout the country. While drawing attention to the government’s mishandling of the pandemic, he said that the Centre failed to control the price of medical supplies even amid such a dire situation.
Therefore, the Left Front has demanded the government to take urgent measures to arrest the price hike and stop black marketing and hoarding of commodities. Not only that, Basu added, the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is not sufficient and thus, each person should be given 10 kg foodgrain as ration. In addition to this, the families in need should also be provided with pulses, sugar, edible oil, etc., the veteran Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader said.
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The Left Front has also raised the demand of financial assistance of Rs 7,500 per month to each non-income tax paying family for a period of six months in order to tide over the pandemic-induced crisis.
Governor’s Interference in State Affairs Criticised
Basu also raised questions on the central government’s increased interference in the state’s affairs, adding that it is not a welcome sight. Condemning Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, he said that the governor is crossing his constitutional mandate and behaving like a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, by going around the state along with BJP leaders.
The Left Front has also extended support to state Finance Minister Amit Mitra’s demand in the GST Council to withdraw tax on COVID-19 related drugs, medical supply and essential commodities. They have demanded that the central government ensure universal vaccination and supply of medicines and oxygen across the state on a priority basis.
Basu said that while the central government announced that only 25% of the vaccines will be in private hands, yet in many places vaccine not available which is a failure of the central government.
Restart Public Transportation
Further, keeping in view that 25% of staff in private and public companies have been asked to join work Basu stressed on the need to restart the state transportation system. He said, “How will workers join work when they cannot access public transportation? Not only that, daily wagers are also suffering greatly due to unavailability of public means of transport. Therefore, we request the state government to take immediate action in this regard,” he added.
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