Monday, February 17, 2014

AIKS Parliament march on February 18

Hundreds of peasants from the States neighbouring Delhi will March to Parliament on 18th February demanding remunerative prices for their produce and other related matters.

The Congress-led UPA Government has not been taking into account the increasing input costs due to decontrol and has been fixing the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) in such a manner that the cultivating peasantry do not even recover the costs of production in most crops, let alone earning surplus. Even the MSP announced in such a manner is not realisable by the peasantry as there is no effective procurement in most States. Different state governments are also not taking any steps to provide incentive to the peasantry. AIKS has been protesting against the flawed mode of calculation of the Costs of Production in the meetings of Commission For Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) as well as with the government. However, the government has not made any efforts to address these concerns. Instead it has decided to increase annually the MSP by only Rs.50/Qtl for paddy and wheat irrespective of the exorbitant rise in input costs. Sugarcane farmers are also in a crisis due to unremunerative prices, non-payment of arrears and deregulation.

The UPA as well as Congress-led state governments have also decided to keep fruits and vegetables outside the purview of the APMC Act. This effectively will benefit big buyers, like organised retailers and small farmers will struggle to access markets. The networks and individuals who control the existing trade in fruits and vegetables will become more dominant. Instead of increasing market access with better infrastructure, transport facilities, collection centres, removal of middlemen and entrenched lobbies comprising politicians, traders and commission agents, the move only is aimed at strengthening their role as well as that of organised retail.

Against these policies the AIKS has called for a March to Parliament. The March will begin at Jantar Mantar by 10.00 AM and will be addressed by leaders of the Kisan Sabha as well as Members of Parliament. A delegation will meet the Agriculture Minister and submit a memorandum.

A delegation will also submit a memorandum to Chairman of Dedicated Freight Corridor Limited against the unfair compensation for land being acquired for the Dedicated Freight Corridor in Uttar Pradesh and seek enhanced compensation as well as just resettlement and rehabilitation.

AP: Workers Struggle

EVEN as the Delhi maneuverings to decide on the bifurcation issue reached a feverish pitch, the  working people of all three regions of Andhra Pradesh are unitedly on struggle path centering around their genuine demands.
The 1.8 lakh strong Anganwadi workers and helpers in the state are conducting indefinite hunger strikes demanding hike in wages. Addressing the Anganwadi workers at the strike camp in Hyderabad, CPI(M) state secretary B V Raghavulu  demanded that the genuine issues facing the working people of the state must be discussed in the state assembly. He demanded that the Anganwadi workers must be paid a minimum wage of Rs 10,000 along with retirement, ESI and PF benefits. He expressed full support of the CPI(M) to their struggle.
At the same time in support of over 60,000 outsourced sanitation workers in municipalities, nine workers’ unions undertook a five-day long strike across the state demanding hike in wages. The mayor of Hyderabad threatened the workers of invoking ESMA but the workers stood firm.
A huge Chalo Assembly was oganised jointly by the unions in which thousands of workers rallied. CPI(M) state secretary and floor leaders of Left parties addressed the workers.
CPI(M) state secretary B V Raghavulu and CPI(M) MLA J Ranga Reddy led a delegation of leaders of employees and workers and submitted a memorandum to the chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on 11th February seeking his urgent intervention in resolving the issues.
The issues raised by the delegation included solving the problems facing the Anganwadi workers and helpers; hiking the wages and regularising the over 5.5 lakh contract and outsourcing employees working in government departments, corporations, local bodies and universities etc; regularising over 50,000 time-scale/contingent employees and till that process is completed, payment of wages on par with regular employees;  provide job security to contract lecturers and consider regularising them.
Bowing to the steadfast struggle, the municipal administration minister called a meeting of unions and conceded to hike the wages of the contractorised sanitation workers. The government agreed to pay Rs 8500 a month to a sanitation worker in Greater Hyderabad, Rs 8300 in other municipal corporations and municipalities, and Rs  7300 in nagar panchayat areas. The workers had demanded a minimum salary of Rs 12,500.