Thursday, October 21, 2010

TRIPURA: AIDWA Holds Sixteenth State Conference - Haripada Das

TRIPURA is a role model for the country in implementing alternative policies for the welfare of poor, especially the women community. Defying scorching heat of sun and airing resolve to carry forward the ongoing developmental process, frustrating the machinations plotted by Congress party in the state, a large number of women gathered at the Stable Ground, Agartala on the occasion of the 16th state conference of AIDWA on October 2, 2010. After a long time, Agartala city witnessed such a huge and lively women’s rally in the city.

Unable to enter the overflowing ground, about half of the women stood on the roads passing by the South and Western side of the ground. The rally was presided over by the AIDWA state president, Sabitri Debbarma and was addressed by Brinda Karat and Manik Sarkar, both Polit Bureau members of CPI (M), working president of Tripura state committee of AIDWA and CPI (M) Central Committee member Rama Das, and Krishna Rakshit, AIDWA state secretary.

Addressing the mammoth open rally of the women, Brinda Karat said the politically conscious women folk of the state must stand in the forefront in the nationwide struggle for the pro-people alterative policies, by consolidating their present organisational growth and cementing unity.

Describing the plight of the women of the country as the worst victims of the feudal capitalist system, she said since the adoption of LPG policies by the ruling class ten years back, while millionaires have been further nourished, the condition of poor got more deteriorated. India possesses the highest number of women anemic patients in the world because they are mal-fed or half-fed due to poverty. Ironically, this happened at a time when a huge quantum of six crore tons of food grain is allowed to be rotten under open sky and denied distribution to the hungry countrymen free of cost, defying the Apex Court’s clear directives. Most of the countrymen are struggling to negotiate with the price hike everyday.

Ridiculing the yard stick of selecting BPL, that the families having income below Rs 350 per month may be treated as BPL and others as APL, Brinda Karat said, “May I request the prime minister to show the countrymen managing his family with Rs 360 per month.” In the name of Food Security Act, the UPA government is trying to abolish whatever food security is remaining at present. She argued for a minimum of 35 kg food grain at Rs 2 per kg for all families, a rational amount of wage for the anganwadi and Asha workers, and the workers engaged in mid-day-meal scheme etc., abolition of gender discrimination prevalent in various parts of the country, implementation of FRI ensuring equal right of women on the allotted land under this Act. She also scathingly condemned the role of Trinamool Congress for maintaining a direct nexus with anti-national Maoists who have unleashed an annihilation drive by killing innocent poor to wipe out CPI (M) from Jangal Mahal area in West Bengal.

The chief minister of Tripura and CPI (M) Polit Bureau member, Manik Sarkar congratulated the massive women’s rally that indicates the importance of women who are the part and parcel of the democratic struggle of the state. Referring to Arjun Sengupta Commission’s report which says that 77 per cent of the countrymen can afford not even Rs 20 per day, Manik Sarkar said, the report was placed three years back. Dr Sengupta had no any leftist antecedent. Still, the central government took no remedial measures. The report is now gathering dust in the prime minister’s office, Manik Sarkar informed and asked who is responsible for such a bad state of living of the countrymen? Out of the 64 years since independence, except for eight or nine years in three-four terms, the Congress party all along ruled the country. Thus, there should not be any dispute that Congress party is entirely liable for this shameful plight of the countrymen. This is because, the Congress party acts just opposite to the pledge it makes to the electorate. In the last elections also, they shed crocodile tears for the poor promising for an ‘aam admi ka sarkar’. But even after two years, they took no single pro-people decision. It is now clear to everybody that they are servants, not of aam admi but are very obedient servants of khas admi, Manik Sarkar quipped.

Briefly describing the measures taken by the Left Front government for the welfare of the women, and the over-all development programmes in the state amidst non- cooperation from the centre and various limitations mainly due to financial constraints, Manik Sarkar said the opposition parties, the extremist outfits and a section of media are trying to create unrest and instability in the state so that the government all along remains embarrassed with tackling law and order situation and development activities don’t progress smoothly. He asked the people to be alert against them and not fall prey to their provocative actions.

The sixteenth state conference of AIDWA began with the flag hoisting by its president Sabitri Debbarma and paying respectful floral tributes at the martyrs’ column. Agartala Town Hall, the venue of the conference and the dais of the hall were named as Ila Bhattacharjee Nagar and Manjulika Bose Manch, the two veteran women leaders of the state who passed away in the interim period.

The first session of the conference started in the evening on October 2, 2010. A seven member presidium with Sabitri Debbarma, Rama Das, Chhaya Bal, Basana Das, Jharna Das(Baidya), Rehana Begam and Sukhamati Debbarma and an eight member steering committee comprising Krishna Rakshit, Pabitra Bala Das, Alo Bhowmik, Minu Saha, chapala Biswas, Hasi Bhattacharjee, Kiranmala Debbarma, and Maya Paul were constituted. After reading out the condolence resolution and homage to martyrs, secretary Krishna Rakshit presented the political-organisational report on behalf of the state committee.

On October 3, addressing the delegates’ session of the conference, Manik Sarkar elaborated the government’s achievements of the programmes for the welfare of the women in the state. Many measures adopted by the Left Front government for the upliftment of the socio-economic conditions of the women are unprecedented in the country. Aiming at the women’s empowerment, 50 per cent seats have been reserved for the women in the rural and urban bodies. In government recruitment, though reservation is not there, the government is very much careful to see that women are represented well. About 28 per cent of the total annual budget is earmarked for 22 schemes meant for the women’s welfare. Out of 34,402 self help groups in the state, 18,040 are run exclusively by women who are being supported by the government in various ways. Law against female foeticide is strictly enforced here. The government provides allowances for the female babies, upto the age 16 years. At present, more than 6000 female babies are getting such allowance. About 47,000 divorced women are getting government allowances. The name of both wife and husband are recorded in the document for land allotment ensuring equal right to women on the land. The number of anganwadi centres has increased from 900 in 1972 to 9,900 at present. These centres are rendering services to 3.5 lakh children and 1.6 lakh mothers. There are more than 600 health sub-centres. A target has been set to establish at least one health sub-centre in each of the panchayat and village committee area. Distressed women are getting legal aid to get redress from the court. The police department has been instructed to ensure at least 10 per cent women in the police force. In every police station, there is a female desk so that the female complainants feel no hesitation in talking and registering complaints. Women’s Commission of the state is performing a robust duty to render redress to the women victims of domestic and other violence. There are female courts in three districts to settle the domestic disputes, the chief minister informed. Congratulating the delegates, Manik Sarkar urged them to draw the women still in the wrong camp and enrich themselves with clear political understanding to sharpen the struggle for a classless society.

Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of AIDWA hailed the Tripura unit of the organisation for its achievements in drawing majority of women masses of the state in the path of democratic movement for safeguarding women’s rights. Tripura would be the shining source of inspiration in the struggle against the ruling forces who are interested to please US imperialism, compromising the interests of the country, the communal forces who prefer to turn the country into a Hindu state, the forces in the Jammu and Kashnir trying to cut off the hills jeopardising the integrity of the country, against the semi-fascist attack let loose on the CPI(M) supporters in Jangal Mahal and other areas of West Bengal by the TMC-Maoist combine. She advised the conference to take up the issues related to the downtrodden working women and suggested to equip them with sharp political ideological consciousness.

Altogether 601 delegates representing 19 divisional committees attended the conference and 38 delegates discussed on the political-organisational report. Nine resolutions demanding passage of women’s reservation bill, controlling price rise, containing crimes against women, better involvement of women in NREGA, supporting self help groups, rational quantum of allowance to the anganwadi and Asha workers and against the imperialism and secessionist and extremist outfits etc were passed.

In the concluding session, a new 88-member state committee was elected unanimously amidst high applause. The new state committee in its first meeting constituted a 23-member state secretariat. Sabitri Debbarma, Rama Das and Krishna Rakshit were re-elected as president, working president and secretary respectively. Chapala Biswas was elected as treasurer of the state committee. The three main thrust areas of the conference were to protect the rights already achieved, organise the women of unorganised sectors and sharpen the political-ideological understanding.