BMS protests neglect of farmers and inflation
By Our Correspondent
More than one lakh farmers and labourers from across the country warned the UPA government that it will not be allowed to stay in power for even a single day if it deceives the country at the WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Hong Kong from December 13 to 18. They also warned the Left parties supporting the UPA government to pressurise the government not to repeat the Geneva mistake in Hong Kong. ?If the government repeats the Geneva mistake at Hong Kong and bends under the undue pressure of WTO, the Commerce Minister, Shri Kamal Nath will not be allowed to enter the country and the Left parties too should be ready to withdraw their support from this anti-labour and anti-farmer government. Otherwise the farmers and labourers will withdraw their support to the Left parties also,? warned Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) general secretary Shri Udayrao Patwardhan while addressing a mammoth rally at Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi on November 23. The rally was jointly organised by the BMS and the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS).
The BMS and the BKS had expected about 80,000 people at the rally but over one lakh people attended it. According to Shri Girish Awasthi, BMS president, thousands of people could not reach the venue on time because their trains were delayed. After the rally the farmers and labourers started their march to Parliament, but were stopped by the police and were not allowed to move out of the Ramlila Grounds. The agitating farmers presented a memorandum for the Prime Minister to the police authorities.
The rally was organised after a countrywide awareness campaign conducted by both the BMS and the BKS against betrayal of the government on the assurance given by it soon after it assumed office. Both the organisations had been protesting against rising prices of essential commodities, privatisation of public sector undertakings, free flow of foreign direct investment, proposed anti-worker changes in labour laws and delay in setting up the sixth pay commission.
The farmers and labourers had given enough time to the UPA government but it had not kept its word. What to talk of fulfilling the promises made to us, the government is violating its Common Minimum Programme.
Shri Patwardhan further said that the farmers and labourers had given enough time to the UPA government but it had not kept its word. ?What to talk of fulfilling the promises made to us, the government is violating its Common Minimum Programme,? he said, adding that trade unions were not being taken into confidence while changing labour laws.
Addressing the rally Shri Girish Awasthi said that the government should not withdraw the subsidies being given to Indian farmers under pressure from the US or WTO and it should also not open its markets for them. ?The rich countries should be clearly told to first fulfill their promises. Only then we should think for lowering subsidy and opening up of our markets to them,? he said. Shri Awasthi also vehemently opposed corporatisation of 39 Ordinance Factories and nine Mints/ Bank note press.
BKS general secretary Baba Saheb Takwale, accused the government of neglecting the interests of its own people. He demanded that agriculture should be kept out of the purview of WTO. He said by ending ceiling law the government has already opened its door to foreign companies to usurp the fertile fields of India. ?It should not have been allowed at any cost. The government should understand that this move will increase rural unemployment and food security will also be lost,? he said and added that amendment to the Patent Law must be scrapped.
Prof. Bhagwati Prasad Sharma of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch said if the rich countries do not reduce subsidies India should try to form a separate WTO of developing countries. Thakur Sankata Prasad Singh, BKS president said the seventh Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong would be the last chance for the government to prove its sincerity and honesty. ?We shall trust this government only if it does not allow any new item on the agenda for discussion at the conference and force the rich nations to remove subsidies to their farmers,? he said.