The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on October 6, 2013. It has issued the following statement:
Railway Fare Hike
The Polit Bureau strongly opposed the 2 per cent hike in rail fares in express and mail trains for all categories of passengers. The freight tariff has also been increased by 1.7 per cent. This hike is consequent to the decision to periodically hike the rail and freight fares. The Polit Bureau demands the rescinding of the fare hike and an end to the system of periodically increasing the passenger and freight fares based on the fuel prices.
Privatisation of Airports
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) condemned the decision of the government to hand over the running of the two metro airports of Chennai and Kolkata owned by the Airports Authority of India to private parties. Along with this 12 other airports are to be similarly outsourced to private companies.
In both Kolkata and Chennai it is the Airport Authority of India which built the new terminals and these public funded airports are now to be handed over to private companies. Apart from handing over public assets, the future of the employees of the Airport Authority of India will be jeopardised.
The central government should immediately scrap this privatization plan.
Allocation of Resources to States
The allocation of resources and funds to the states has always been a contentious issue. The CPI(M) has been demanding that fifty per cent of the central taxes and revenues should be allocated to the states.
The Raghuram Rajan Committee report on indexing backwardness of the states has been submitted to the government. The recommendations of this report should not be implemented without first consulting the state governments.
The Finance Commission is the constitutionally set up body for devolution of resources to the states. The question of equitable allocation of resources to the states and also taking into account the backwardness of states should be decided only after consultations with the states.
PM’s Washington Visit
A joint declaration on defence cooperation has been issued after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s talks with President Obama in Washington. Steps for deepening defence cooperation include buying more US weapons and joint production. This will open the way for American arms companies to set up joint ventures in India. The clear intention is to make India a close ally of the US.
The CPI(M) is against India being drawn into such a close military collaboration with the US. It will adversely affect our national sovereignty, carrying out an independent foreign policy and our strategic autonomy.
West Bengal Attacks
Attacks on the CPI(M) and Left Front cadres and activists are continuing in West Bengal. The Trinamul Congress under the aegis of the state government is responsible for this violence against the opposition. After the results of the panchayat elections, six cadres and members of the CPI(M) have been killed, the latest being the brutal murder of a member of the zonal committee of the party in Bardaman district.
The Polit Bureau demanded that such attacks should be stopped forthwith and the state government must take steps to end this violence against the opposition. The Polit Bureau appealed to all democratic forces in the country to protest against this violence and attacks on democracy.
The Polit Bureau expressed its deep concern at the major outbreak of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar on September 7-8. Forty five people were killed, hundreds injured and some women were raped. Around forty thousand people had to take shelter in camps.
This communal violence has come in the background of the systematic efforts to raise communal tensions and provoke violence by the RSS outfits. The Uttar Pradesh administration was not vigilant and did not intervene promptly to prevent the situation from developing into such a conflict.
In this connection, the Polit Bureau wants the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill to be taken up expeditiously and adopted.
Convention for People’s Unity And Against Communalism
The Polit Bureau extended its full support to the holding of a convention on October 30 which is meant to mobilize the people to maintain people’s unity and to combat the communal forces.