Kolkata: Thousands of farmers, sharecroppers and agricultural workers on Thursday converged in the heart of the city at the end of a two-day long 52-kilometre march from Singur in West Bengal’s Hooghly district.
The ‘Singur to Raj Bhavan’ campaign, which culminated at Rani Rashmoni Road, pressed for an eight-point charter of demands that included remunerative prices for farmers and industrial jobs for rural youth.
Communist Party of India-Marxist peasant bodies in West Bengal All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) organised the march that began on Wednesday from Singur.
“Around 50 thousand farmers took part in the march,” said a CPI-M leader.
ACPI(M) West Bengal state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) state Secretary Amal Halder, All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) State Secretary Amiya Patra, AIAWU State President Tushar Ghosh addressed the gathering at Rashmoni Road.
The campaign was a corollary to the all India ‘Kisan Mukti March’, that started in New Delhi on Thursday. The New Delhi farmer mobilisation is being organised by the All India Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella organisation of over 200 organisations.
Left leaders at the rally strongly condemned the Trinamul Congress for running a campaign against Tata Motors’ small car manufacturing project in Singur and forcing them to abandon the plant.
The situation in Singur is bleak as landholders who gave up their plots can no longer cultivate on the destroyed soil, even as their children scrounge around for jobs, they said.
Mishra strongly condemned the present Trinamul Congress government for its failure to create employment in the state and for its pro-farmer pretentions.
He said, instead of focusing on core issues, both Trinamul Congress, and BJP, are now playing dangerous communal games.
“The Trinamool- BJP nexus is continuously trying to dismantle the secular fabric of the state. BJP is supposed to take out three Rath Yatras from the three different corners of West Bengal. We warn them, that if they try to destroy communal harmony and peace, then people of Bengal will simply smash their chariots,” said Mishra.
The marchers are demanding the state’s present rulersAtake initiative to set up industries on lands earlier acquired by the state government for industrialisation including Singur.
Among other demands of the marchers are Awork for all, waiver of agricultural debt, end of discrimination amongASingur’s farmers, peasant and sharecroppers in providing government welfare schemes and implementation of the M.S Swaminathan Commission recommendations.