May 26, 2009


The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses deep concern at the loss of life and property caused by Cyclone Aila that lashed Kolkata and some districts of West Bengal on May 25. Scores of people have been killed and more than a lakh rendered homeless.

The Polit Bureau conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families of the bereaved and expresses its sympathies with those who have been affected by the cyclone.

The PB urges upon the Central government to urgently provide all necessary assistance to the state government to help in rescue relief and rehabilitation operations. 

The Polit Bureau appeals to the people to contribute their might to help mobilise resources for the cyclone affected people. Contributions may be made to the West Bengal Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

Cyclone Aila' claims 35 lives in West Bengal, Kolkata limps back to normal

Kolkata, May 25: West Bengal capital Kolkata is limping back to normal a day after 'Cyclone Aila' brushed past it at a distance of 50 km.

The size of the cyclonic system was so large - with a maximum diameter of 250-350 km - that when the core crossed the coast, the city was already reeling from its impact with wind speeds of 120 kmph.

At least 35 people have been killed across the state, 15 of them in Kolkata and Howrah and 20 others in South Bengal districts. Over 1500 trees lie uprooted across the main thoroughfares in the city, several electric poles have keeled over, electricity, water supply and cable connections have been disrupted in several pockets across the metropolis.

Office goers, however, are making efforts to go to work even as the public transport system is crawling back to normalcy.

The main problem is the blocked roads. Uprooted trees are being cut and cleared at a snail's pace by corporation staff who have not responded adequately to the crisis. Only about 75 civic personnel have been at work since yesterday evening with just 26 axes, 30 machetes and just one gas cutter, trying to clear away the over 1000 uprooted trees.

The storm which started around 1.30 p.m. Monday and lasted till 8.30 p.m., with a couple of hours lull around 3 p.m., rendered Kolkata immobile. Roads were blocked, public transport collapsed, all to and fro flights were cancelled and even the dependable metro crashed.

The last cyclone, the Great Calcutta Cyclone, wrecked the city on October 5, 1864. About 60,000 people were killed then.

CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee reviews election debacle

Kolkata,24th May: The Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s West Bengal State Committee that met here over two sessions on Sunday to review the party’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections, warned of attempts by its opponents to make the Left Front government dysfunctional by hindering pro-people programmes and by creating anarchy in the State.

The next Assembly elections are due in two years when the CPI(M) along with its Left partners will be up against a Trinamool Congress-led Opposition whose claim that the Left Front “has lost its right to rule” is reaching a crescendo.

The CPI(M)’s State Committee meeting was held less than a week after the party’s Polit Bureau observed that both national and State-specific factors were responsible for the dismal performance of the party.

It had recently underlined the need for a “self-critical” approach by the party’s State Committees, while making a “serious examination” of the reasons behind the electoral reverses.

This was reiterated at the meeting. Among those present were West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and party’s State Committee secretary Biman Bose.

Benoy Konar, a member of the party’s central committee, presided.

The CPI(M) won nine of the 32 seats it had contested in the State — its worst showing since it led the Left Front to power here 32 years ago.

The CPI(M)’s State Committee observed that in no way could the faults that might have existed in the functioning of the party, the Left Front, the State government, the panchayats and municipalities be condoned. There was need to pay greater attention to address the shortcomings and to engage in intensive interactions with the people.

What is necessary is “to win back lost friends and to keep finding new friends,” the CPI(M)’s State Committee said.

People at the national level had not accepted the slogan of a Third Front as an alternative to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party for a stable government at the Centre, the CPI(M)’s State Committee noted.

The meeting marked the beginning of a process of rectifying the shortcomings in the party at the organisational level and trying to determine the lapses in its pre-poll political strategies.

A preliminary scrutiny of the party’s performance in the districts was placed by the CPI(M)’s different district secretaries and taken up for discussion.

The party’s district committees will have further discussions and will be reporting back to the State Committee that meets again in the second week of June for a detailed review of the electoral reverses.