March 6, 2009

Dunlop To Recommence Work At Sahagunj Plant On Mar. 6

KOLKATA: Dunlop India on Tuesday said it would withdraw suspension of work at its Sahagunj facility and the plant would commence operation on March 6, reports media.The company declared suspension of work on November 30, 2008, after trade unions rejected the company's proposal for a temporary wage cut and suspension of production to tide over working capital crisis. The company had also approached the West Bengal Government for working capital refinance and a set of fiscal concessions. The company said in a statement that a few bankers have now agreed to meet the working capital requirement for running the plant. Besides, the State Government also said it would it would consider relief and incentives sought by the company.

The company is yet to reach a consensus with the labor unions on pending issues and reopening of the facility and it hopes to sort out all pending issues with the unions after the commencement of repairing and refurbishing of the plant, the release said.The company had initially asked 229 workers (out of a total of around 1,200) of maintenance and engineering division to report to duty. The rest of the workers will be inducted in different departments in a phased manner, once the plant is ready for production.


KOLKATA: Bengal CPI (M) secretary Biman Basu released at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, late in the afternoon of 1 march a book on delimitation. The books deals with a brief history of delimitation in Bengal and delineates the changes that the recent amendments had wrought in the shape, size, and population pools of the different Assembly and Lok Sabha segments and units.

State committee member of the CPI (M) and an associate of the Delimitation Commission, Rabin Deb wrote and compiled the book. Biman Basu wrote the all-important political introduction to the 75-page, soft cover document published by the National Book Agency (NBA), and priced at Rs 20.

Introducing Rabin’s book while releasing it to the media, Biman Basu said that the effort merited equal importance with the Prannoy Roy-edited India Decides and Dilip Banerjee’s Election Recorder. Certainly, Rabin’s book is the first of its comprehensive kind for Bengal, and the data used has been brought up-to-date to mid-February of 2009. ‘I have not seen such a detailed work of this kind in the past,’ confessed Biman while praising the smart style of writing, analysis, and compilation of the material that had been marshalled with help from both NBA and the daily Ganashakti.

Te book dwells at some detail on how the 294 Assembly segments and the 42 Lok Sabha seats have been reconstituted by the Delimitation Commission chaired by Justice Kuldip Singh. Bima Basu pointed to the principal contents of the book, which looked like this:

Delimitation—an exercise after 33 years
Population based effects
Reserved seats and changes
The shape and size of the Bengal Assembly 1952-2006
Demographic and other features of each Assembly and Lok Sabha seat
Results of the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha polls
Gazette notifications of the Delimitation Commission and of the Election Commission
A multi-coloured map delineating the delimitation results

Biman Basu pointed to the acts of commission indulged in by the Bengal opposition, especially by the Trinamul Congress during the public hearings that the Commission organised at Siliguri, Durgapur, and in Kolkata. The then CEO as well as the chairman of the Delimitation Commission were physically heckled. Work of the Commission was hampered. Unprintable words were thrown at the members of the Commission who were dubbed as ‘stooges of Alimuddin Street,’ and yet the work could be completed thanks to the LF members of the Commission present, which backed the Commission’s work to the hilt.

Later, answering questions on the fact of the lessening of the population profile of Kolkata, that saw Kolkata lose one Lok Sabha seat of three, Biman Basu offered four tentative reasons:

Tenants often went to the suburbs in the houses/flats that they had built and/or purchased
Jobs took people and their families away from the metropolis
Dilapidated houses were sold off and families moved to the suburbia
Those working abroad, and originally khas Kolkatans, now preferred to return to pricey and luxurious flats/condominiums they have come to own in the high-rises that increasingly dot the outer reaches of the city.


NANDIGRAM: In a vicariously cruel incident, Trinamuli goons sought to set fire to Uttam Bera, local committee secretary of the Bhekutia unit of the CPI (M) at Nandigram alive, deep into the night of 1 March. In fortuitous circumstances, Uttam managed to escape what was a sure and terrible death awaiting him.

Uttam himself told us that he was alone in his one-and-a-half stories mathkotha mud hut on that fateful night, his wife having gone to her mother’s place with their only girl child. The roof of the mathkotha is an inevitable and traditional construct of thatched roofing material of dried straw and wooden chips to hold them together.

The arsonists would surreptitiously climb atop the roof as Uttam slept the deep slumber of a daily wage earner, and then quickly spread highly flammable spirits and kerosene plus petrol on the roof and on the wooden window sills. The whole ensemble burst into a ball of flame with a vicious hissing noise.

Uttam woke up with a start at the sudden change in temperature (nights are chilly yet in east Midnapore), and had the presence of mind, and the deep courage, to leap down to the ground floor by jumping though the fatal ring of fire that was his nearest window. He identified in the bright light, as his much-beloved self-fabricated house burnt to cinders, the Trinamuli goons who had come in their dozens and who could flee in the dark of the mid-night.

Uttam has been target for long, says CPI (M) leader of the district secretariat Ashok Guria for Uttam is a popular Party organiser. We recall with regret the series of murders the Trinamulis have committed in 2008 of CPI (M) workers at Nandigram since they won the rural polls in the district.

21 May 2008 Khalek Mullick

6 August 2008 Niranjan Mondol

7 August 2008 Dulal Garudas

Besides, Joydeb Paik of Sonachura was shot thrice on 5 August 2008 but he somehow managed to survive, although the wounds had left him half-a-man that he was as far as strength and stamina are concerned. Biman Basu, state secretary of the CPI (M) has castigated the attempted murder of Uttam Bera in strong language.

Elsewhere we learn that more than 300 CPI (M) workers and sympathisers have been driven from home and hearth of late by the right-left combination at Nandigram in the area of the Sonachura and Kalicharanpur Gram Panchayats in a shocking replay of the fateful weeks and months of 2007.


KOLKATA: On the defeat of the CPI (M) candidate in the Bishnupur west Assembly seat, Biman Basu said that the greater factor was not the alliance between the two Congresses, Pradesh, and Trinamul, for the former could garner less than ten thousand votes the last time around. The defeat has to be judged in the success or lack of it on the part of the organisation to carry the campaign of the CPI (M) deep enough among the masses of the people.

In addition, Biman was confident that the results of an Assembly by-elections were dominated by factors and conditions that would never apply when it came either to the general elections to the Assembly or to the Lok Sabha. For the record, the CPI (M) had won the seat the last time around after garnering 44% of the votes polled. This time, the figure was but one per cent less – and that made the difference.

Maoists-Jharkhandis Burn Alive Three-Year Old

DHANIAKHALI(HOOGHLY): Three-year-old Sumana Mandi, daughter of CPI(M) panchayat member Loncho Mandi was burnt to a horrible end with a mixture of petrol and kerosene lit with a fatal matchstick. The child died screaming in extreme pain.

The incident took place on February 22, 2009 at a small hamlet in Dhaniakhali in Hooghly. Sumana’s mother Jharna could be of little help as she too had been set upon, bound up, and then lit up with burning fuel in another corner in the hutment. She is at present fighting for her life at a local hospital.

It was to be an otherwise peaceful country evening with the reverberating sound of conchshells welcoming the evening. Loncho, a khet mazdoor, escaped as he was away attending to some urgent panchayat business. The attackers came in an armed group of fifteen.

Biman Basu, senior CPI(M) leader said that the heinous act proved how desperate the right-left opposition had become as the Lok Sabha elections approached. CPI(M) leaders Mitali Kumar and Bharati Mukherjee rushed to the spot and condoled the death in the bereaved family and also looked after the treatment of the burn injuries of Jharna. Statewide protest rallies have been held to castigate the inhuman act. It is learnt that the Disam group of the Jharkhandis were involved in the attack along with Maoists and Trinamulis.

Elsewhere at Raina in Burdwan, Comrade Nurul Islam, a CPI(M) worker, succumbed to his fatal injuries after battling for life for seven days. Comrade Nurul had been brutally attacked by goons in the hire of the Trinamul Congress. Comrade Nurul led the resistance but was felled by many bullets.

CPI(M) Calls For Struggle Against Separatist And Divisive Forces

KOLKATA: IN its latest meeting of the state committee, held on February 24, 2009 the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) has called upon the mass of the people to stand guard against forces of reaction and their political patrons. A ceaseless campaign-movement must be waged against these anti-people and anti-poor elements. Presided over by central committee member Benoy Konar, state secretary Biman Basu made an important address, on the political-organisational reality and tasks.

Biman Basu said that a move had been started for some time now to cobble together an unprincipled mahajot’ or grand alliance comprising a rainbow opposition from the reactionary right to the sectarian left. To counter their moves, the CPI(M) must deepen mass contact and build up an intense political campaign at all levels, keeping in mind the interest of the masses. The unity of the Left Front must be augmented even further in all districts.

The meeting saw state committee members report on different political organisational issues. They said that the acceptability of the Party had continued to increase and the rallies at the call of the Party at the district level were bigger than ever. The resistance of the people is on the rise against the continuum of efforts by the separatists to try to create mayhem and chaos.

The issue of Lok Sabha candidates was discussed and it was decided to allocate the responsibility in this regard to the state secretariat. A meeting of the Bengal Left Front would be convened after all the partners had finalised their list of LS candidates. The comprehensive list of Left Front candidates shall be declared from that meeting of the state Left Front.


BENGAL chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, addressing two meetings at Howrah and in Burdwan asserted that the Bengal Left Front would emerge victorious in the coming elections even if the opposition combined. He also asserted that industrialisation was the most suited way for creating jobs for the unemployed in Bengal.

The task before the Left would be to go deep amongst the masses and disseminate the Left’s political point of view in the backdrop of the evolving reality. The Left unity must be further strengthened. The crude face of capitalism-in-crisis must be unmasked relentlessly. He pointed out how the proponents of the ‘all-powerful market’ across the world were now reading Marx and extolling the virtues of the demand side economics of John Maynard Keynes. Socialism remains all powerful but it would be too early now to write off capitalism as a force to be reckoned with.Speaking in some detail about the danger emanating from the Trinamulis centrally aiding and abetting all kinds of forces of separatism, division, and religious fundamentalism, Buddhadeb emphasised that the issue central to the industrial policy of Bengal was the creation of jobs. Land is a prime requisite for the process to fructify. The LF government shall move forward with more discretion in the days to come and with a more organised approach in the task of land acquisition. At the same time, the ongoing process of democratisation and popular participation n governance shall move ahead.


In one of its recent decrees, the Election Commission (EC) has called for reduction of voters per booth in Bengal. According to the EC, one booth will not include in its list more than 1200 voters. This translates to setting up of more booths than earlier. The state election department calculates that this will mean an additional of 11,000 booths, come the LS polls. At present the number of polling booths in Bengal number 51,919. After the EC ruling is put in place, sources in the state EC tell us, the number is likely to cross 64,000. The first experiment with the new figures of around 1200 per booth will be done at the Bishnupur west by-elections come February 26, 2009.

We learn from the EC that the argument behind the call for increase in the number of booths is quite straightforward. In Bengal where the political consciousness of voters is widespread, elections are held as almost a sacred event with voters coming out in their millions to vote in instances of assembly or Lok Sabha polls. Even in by-elections, the voting percentage is seldom below 70-75 per cent. Thus, long queues are formed even after darkness had fallen.

The average number of voters per booth now is between 1500 and 1600. The last assembly elections saw Bengal EC suo motu reduce the number of voters per booth to 1400. This time the number, as we said, would work out to 1200-odd. An additional and complex burden that the Bengal election machinery shall have to bear would be the additional components of election workers and security personnel who have to be brought in this time around, or, shall we say, from this time around.


The Lok Sabha elections approach fast. One seat that the Trinamul Congress aims to wrest from the CPI(M) is Tamluk. Nandigram assembly segment is a part of this constituency that shall play a crucial role in the final outcome as would Khejuri. Data of the state election commission reveals something very disturbing – in an unprecedented electoral event for Bengal, there has been an increase of 12 per cent of voters in Nandigram assembly segment over the past two years of disturbance at the behest of the right-left combo. The concomitant rise in voters’ strength is a norm hovering around less than 2 per cent.

Subhendu Adhikari of the Trinamul Congress and their candidate designate from Tamluk has already started to boast that he would win the seat by an unprecedentedly huge margin. Let us take a look at a few statistical scenarios. Since the panchayat polls, the voters’ list has puffed up to stand at 12 per cent more than it had been during the past two years. How did this happen?

From January of 2007, the right-left combination let loose a veritable reign of terror in the entire Nandigram blocks, perhaps except Nandigram III. During the whole of 2007 and part of 2008, the voters’ list was revised in the appropriate manner by the Maoists and the Trinamulis with help from SUCI. They played political ducks-and-drakes with the entire process. At the end of the exercise we are now confronted with a hugely inflated voters’ list – 12 per cent worth of increase in less than two years. The whole development has thrown an additionality of challenge to the CPI(M) and its mass base, come the Lok Sabha elections.


The Bengal Left Front government has declared a plan for additional generation of income and employment especially amongst the poor. This is a step to fight the recession that has spread its hydra-headed tentacles around the Indian economy.

Finance minister Professor Asim Dasgupta would prefer to describe the plan as a move towards farther empowerment of the mass of the people in distressing times. The plan aims at carrying beneficent economic and financial measures to the poorest of the poor as part of the LF government’s policy outlook.

The measures set in motion can thus be summarised:

1.Rs 1000 crore earmarked for non-BPL rural poor for housing
2.BPL families to get ration at Rs 2 for a kg of rice
3.Self-help groups to receive loans at a rate of 4 per cent from banks
4.Rs 50,000 to be disbursed as compensation to farmers whose potato crops have been affected with disease
5.All districts to have decentralised set up of godowns with a capacity of two lakh MT
6.Rs 500 crore allotted for land banks for medium and heavy industries
7.Rs 55 crore allotted for the handloom sector
8.One thousand vocational centres to be set up
9.Two new universities to be set up at Purulia-Bankura, and Jalpaiguri
10.50,000 primary school teacher posts to be filled up
11.Increase in the pay of para-teachers, school and college part-time teachers, and secondary education centres
12.The pension of workers of closed factories and closed tea gardens to be increased to Rs 1000 from the existing Rs 750
13.Increase of pension of the old, the widows, the physically challenged, as well as of kisans and workers


In order to ensure a fast spread of education, especially scientific education amongst the people, the use of the mother tongue is essential. This was stated by CPI(M) leader Biman Basu while addressing a seminar on ‘study of science in Bengali’, on the occasion of the international mother language day in Kolkata on February 21, 2009. The Bangiya Sakhsharata Prasar Samity (BSPS) organised the seminar at Kolkata University.

Biman Basu said that language had always played a central role behind the process that led to the formation and growth of States. Bangladesh is a potent example of this tenet. Imperialism was at work in ensuring that languages became fewer and fewer and diversity was done away with. This must be resisted.

Bengali language, too, was under attack from the forces of imperialism and their lackeys. The role emoted by such stalwarts in the development of the Bengali language like Vidyasagar, Madhusudan Dutta, Akhshaykumar Datta, Ram Mohan Roy, the Tagore family, J C Bose, and P C Roy were mentioned. Their tradition must be carried forward.

The occasion also saw the celebration of the 18th year of the organ of the BSPS, Lekha O Pada.