June 14, 2009

Lapses in building up mass contact are the main reasons for the debacle

KOLKATA,13th June,2009(INN): The 13th session of the West Bengal State Committee of CPI(M) was held on 11-12th June, 2009. The main agenda of this meeting was to discuss the results of the 15th LokSabha elections in West Bengal and the future tasks in the post election period. The General Secretary of the Party, Prakash Karat and Polit bureau members Sitaram Yechury and S R Pillai were present in the meeting. The meeting was presided over by Benoy Konar.

According due respect towards the mandate of the people, the state committee deeply analyzed the political, organizational as well as the administrative reasons behind the election results. Drawing lessons from the election results, the state committee has decided to take up comprehensive rectification programmes on all fronts.

In the elections, the Left parties took the initiative to form an electoral understanding with non-Congress, non-BJP parties. However, the Third Front could not gain the confidence of the people. The attempt to unite all democratic and patriotic forces on the basis of an anti-imperialist ideological political stand in order to meet the electoral challenge, was not very successful. In the absence of acredible alternative force to meet the challenges of communalism and terrorism, the people voted for the Congress for a stable government. Some initiatives taken by the UPA government under the pressure of the Left also helped the Congress. All these factors affected West Bengal along with the other states in the country.

In our state, all kinds of divisive anarchist forces along with the ultra-left and ultra-right reactionary forces forged an alliance under the leadership of the Trinamool Congress centering on the issues of Singur and Nandigram. The electoral alliance between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress provided further fillip to this.

The state committee has opined that the party's organizational weaknesses have been reflected in the election results. Unprincipled activities, lack of mass contact and weaknesses in building up movements on a consistent basis, have all played their part in denting the support of the party among the people. The image of the party has been damaged.The state committee has called for serious initiatives to rectify the shortcomings. In spite of huge attacks against the party, we have secured the support of over 1 crore 85 lakh people in the state. 43 comrades have been martyred since the elections were announced. After the declaration of results these attacks have increased manifold.Through the process of self-introspection, there is an urgent need to strengthen the party and counter such attacks.

The state committee also opined that some neglect and sluggishness have crept into the work related directly to the people, particularly to the interests of the poor and working masses. There are shortcomings in the functioning of the Government, panchayats and municipalities with regard to maintaining proper class outlook. There have also been attempts to block the implementation of every programme of the government over the last two years. As a result the implementation of pro-people programmes of the government has been adversely affected.

The state committee has said that the divisive forces are receiving support of the reactionaries both within the country and outside. There are attempts to create divisions within the poor people by raking up divisive issues. This divisive agenda needs to be resisted with a proper class perspective.

As far as the immediate tasks in the post election situation is concerned, the state committee has said that attempts are being made to mount large scale attacks on the Party, the Left Front government and the people there by creating an atmosphere of anarchy and terror in the state. The party has to resist this attack by forging even greater unity both at the political as well as organizational level.

The aim of the opposition is to create divisions within the democratic and working people. The task is to unite the people by breaking these divisions. The party has to reach the people as their true friend. The work for the poor and the working masses should be given more priority in the tasks of the party, mass organization and the administration. Immediate and bold steps should be taken to stop non-communist activities and behaviour at every level of the party.

53 comrades participated in the discussion in the state committee. Summing up the discussion, Biman Basu identified certain programs as immediate tasks. In order to protect democracy and democratic rights of the people, we should take up the programme of movement immediately. The attempt to create anarchy in the state has to be resisted by organizing the people. State wide movements will be organized on the issues of price rise, universal public distribution system, providing BPL card toall poor families, changing the centre defined BPL criteria, expedite the process of granting SC/ST certificates, expediting the programmes for minority welfare and implementation of the rural electrification programme.

Participating in the discussion, General Secretary Prakash Karat said that while the third front has not been acceptable to the people in this election, the necessity of creating a third alternative has not ended. Although the present situation is one of adversity, the Party and the Left will be able to overcome it.

WB to go for PPP in tourism promotion

KOLKATA: 13 Jun 2009- While the state government has been encouraging PPP partnership in tourism infrastructure development for quite some time, it now intends

to extend this request of partnership to private players in the publicity field as well, given that the biggest obstacle to Bengal tourism continues to be a negative perception in tourists’ minds.

This was stated by Manabendra Mukherjee, West Bengal’s minister-in-charge for tourism, textiles, micro & small-scale enterprises, on Saturday.

He was speaking at an interactive session organised by CII, Eastern Region, in association with the state department of tourism to focus on promoting tourism in the state.

Mr Mukherjee added that in the last two years, the budget allocation for publicity of Bengal’s tourism had increased 10-fold and the government is keen to double that in the coming days. According to him, though the state received about 11 lakh foreign tourists and 165 lakhs domestic travellers in 2007-08, there is still a lot of further scope.

While the state tourism department intends to develop Jharkhali in Sunderbans and Mandarmoni in the Digha-Shankarpur stretch as prime spots for destination tourism, a Rs 25 crore project will start shortly in Murshidabad around Lalbagh, the capital of Nawab Siraj-ud-Dullah, to develop it as another site for destination heritage tourism. Work for tourism development will also start shortly in Birbhum where a tourism circuit will be developed around Shantiniketan.

Ms Nandita Chatterjee, principal secretary, state department of tourism, added that a policy decision had been taken that the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd along with the private sector would set up SPVs (special purpose vehicles) for land banks after which the third party development partners would be urged to develop infrastructure in tourism.

Mr Ravi Todi, Chairman, West Bengal State Council, CII (Eastern Region), said that to tap tourism potential in Bengal, the approach has to be two-pronged – targeting both domestic as well as international tourists. He identified some key issue sectors like infrastructure, marketing and promotion and urged the necessity to upgrade international air connectivity.


KOLKATA,12th JUNE(INN): The Bengal unit of the CPI (M) in the wake of the two-day state committee meeting (11 – 12 June 2009) has given a strong call to the people to come out onto the streets in the defence of democracy and to frustrate anarchic designs of the reactionaries and the sectarians.

The state committee meeting saw the presence of three Polit Bureau members from the Party Centre: General Secretary Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, and S R Pillai. Prakash Karat said during the discussion that took place in the meeting that that the ‘Third Force’ was not acceptable to the people during these elections. Nevertheless, the necessity for a building up a ‘Third Alternative’ has not been finished off. The situation is unfavourable but the Party and the Leftists shall be able to overcome it.

The Bengal CPI (M) has in the circumstances of the incessant attack by the combined ‘rainbow opposition,’ on the democratic fabric itself in Bengal. The Bengal CPI (M) has given this call in a fervent manner to all democratic-minded people in the accompaniment of CPI (M) and Left mass organisation workers, sympathisers, and supporters of the CPI (M) to take to tarry no farther in taking to the streets.

Said Biman Basu, state secretary of Bengal CPI (M) that in the wake of the Assembly elections, wide assaults ‘are seen to be brought down viciously on the CPI (M), Left Front and on the Left Front government of Bengal.’ Efforts are ‘on’ in a planful way to pave the path that leads to anarchy and complete disorder as well as chaos.

Terrorist methods of murder and mayhem are employed rampantly. The Trinamuli goons lead the way, the Congress hoods follow while the self-styled ‘Maoists’ try and create havoc whenever and wherever they can in Bengal. The very democracies that the people enjoy in the Left Front rĂ©gime as well as the wide democratic rights that the people possess are taken away from them with the use of open threat and brute force by the enemies of the people.

The Bengal unit of the CPI (M) has also called on the Party and the Left mass organisations to be united in a much more political and organisational manner with ideology of Marxism-Leninism lighting up the path to be traversed, a path complex but not impassable. Whenever and wherever the police the state administration are found lacking an appropriate pro-active role, voices would raised against them as well, firmly asserted Biman Basu.

In the state committee, the Bengal CPI (M) has accepted with respect the popular verdict and has delved deeply and thoughtfully into three causes of the electoral outcome: political, organisational, and administrative. Drawing the correct lessons from the outcome, the Bengal unit has decided resolutely to undertake a rectification programme with a multifaceted outlook as far as the emergent tasks are concerned.

In the elections, an initiative was launched by the Left to create an electoral understanding that was non-Congress as well as non-BJP. However, the ‘Third Force’ failed to earn the believability of the mass of the people. The expected success of countering the electoral challenge could not be achieved by massing the democratic and the patriotic forces of the country based on an anti-imperialist political-ideological stance. The electorate chose the Congress as able to set up stable governance at the centre, for the voters did not regard any other alternative as reliable enough to counter the terrible menace posed by the forces of religious fundamentalism and terrorism.

It is to be mentioned that while such projects and programmes as the NREGA, the forest act for the adivasis, and other social welfare measures were undertaken under pressure of the Leftists by the UPA government, this initiative ultimately helped the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls. The impact of all this has been felt in Bengal as in other states.

In Bengal, a rainbow opposition conglomerate was created comprising the forces of division, separatism, and inclusive of all the elements anti-thetical to the CPI (M) and the Left Front from the sectarian to the utter reactionary elements. The Trinamul Congress led this unholy and opportunistic coalition of sorts. The alliance forged between the Congress and the Trinamul Congress added strength to this alliance.

Then there is the instance of the organisational flaws and faults of the Bengal CPI (M). The weaknesses in the organisation reflected themselves in the electoral outcome as well. Causing farther hurt to the image of the CPI (M) amongst the mass of the people and contributed to electoral losses have been instances of dissolute acts, lack of mass contact, and deficiencies in the task of building up continuous and ceaseless movements and struggles. The Bengal CPI (M) in its state committee meeting has called for sincere efforts at rectifying these deficiencies.

However, one important fact must not be lost sight of in the effort at self-critical frame of mind. The Bengal CPI (M) and the Left Front won no less than one core 85 lakh of votes and more, in the Lok Sabha election. If we count from the day the elections were announced, the number of braveheart CPI (M) workers martyred total no less than 42, and still counting.

Indeed, as a recent PD editorial has pointed out aptly, the attacks on the Bengal CPI (M) has continued to mount as the body count increases, and the fearful days and nights pass by for the democratic masses in a few districts in particular. The Bengal CPI (M) feels in the political-ideological self-critical introspection that in view of the continuity of intensity of the assault on us by our class enemies, there is need, indeed, there has been need to have made the Party more tightly organised so as to be capable of resisting the attacks.

There is also a self-critical admittance from the state committee that there has been defects and a slackness felt in organising tasks that directly affect the people, and are especially related to the poor an the working masses. There is additionally a lacuna felt and keenly about the absence of organising and running of the Bengal LF government, the Panchayats, and the civic bodies by keeping integral the precise and desired class direction and class orientation.

Then again, there is also the fact, undeniable, immutable, and incorrigible, that for the past two years in particular, every developmental programme and project of the Bengal government has had to face fierce well-nigh violent antagonism and resistance from an irresponsible opposition and its lackeys.

The situation is politically critical and the Bengal unit believes that the ugly forces of division and separatism receive constancy of every kind of possible assistance and help from reactionary elements and stakes, indigenous and foreign. Various forms of calls, catchphrases, and tags are pronounced with great pomposity to try to create fragmentation fault lines amongst the different and differing ranks of the poor. We must, said Biman, resist this heinous attempt to alienate the whole issue from the class question and class considerations.

As emergent tasks after the elections, the state committee of the Bengal CPI (M) has identified several issues. The Bengal CPI (M) must stand more united than ever politically and organisationally and confront the constant attacks on the people and the Party. Who are the perpetrators of the attacks? Answering this rhetorical question, Biman notes that vile attempts are made all the time by the stake elements on the right and the extreme left to launch coordinated assaults on the CPI (M), the Left Front, the Left Front government, and the mass of the people. The corporate media is engaged all the while in its incessantly attacking mode against the CPI (M).

The target fixed by the opposition of every form is to create fault lines amongst the working people and the democratic masses. The CPI (M) must counter this divisionary manoeuvre and build up – stronger than ever – a people’s unity. The masses must be approached, as they are closest to the Party, they are the Party’s very own near and dear ones. In their functioning, the Party, the mass organisations, and the administration must prioritise the poor and the working people. Firm, resolute, and determined steps must be initiated, right here and now, and at every functioning level of the Party, against all forms of non-Communist activities of omission and commission, and behavioural pattern.

53 state committee members took part in the discussion that was held at the meeting where central committee member Benoy Konar chaired the proceedings. Biman, concluding, identified the tasks. As we have already said in the beginning, Biman called upon the mass of the people to take to the street to safeguard and flourish the democratic rights of the people. The ill-gotten attempts to create a reign of anarchy and chaos must be resisted by taking along the mass of the people.

Statewide movements must be forthwith launched placing to the fore such issues and items as price rise, universal PDS, BPL card to all the poor, change in the criteria fixed by the central government for identifying the BPL, quick issuance without any delay of SC-ST-Adivasi certificates, implementation of the rural electrification programme etc.

Buddhadeb rides autorickshaw to cyclone-hit Sunderbans

Hingalganj: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Saturday travelled in an autorickshaw to meet Cyclone Aila victims in remote areas of this North 24 Parganas block.

Bhattacharjee, who had been jeered by the disgruntled cyclone survivors owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress during his June 2 visit to the block, was well received by people who showered petals and raised slogans praising the state’s Left Front government.

Hingalganj, 69 km southeast of Kolkata and part of the Mangrove delta of Sundarbans, has been badly mauled in the May 25 cyclone which tore through 13 of the state’s 19 districts levelling houses, uprooting trees, snapping power cables and leaving a trail of destruction.

So far, 138 deaths have been reported in the natural calamity across various districts.

The chief minister, on his fourth visit to Aila-affected areas in nearly three weeks, crossed the Ichhamati river by a launch from Dhamakhali to reach Sardarpara and then travelled four kilometres in an autorickshaw up to Jogeshganj to talk to victims and listen to their problems.

While on the launch, he also made unscheduled stops at places like Gopaler Ghat to speak to cyclone-hit people and gave them a patient hearing.

“People won’t have to pay the college fees for one year. Admission dates will be extended for them. And from my relief fund I will give you money for buying books and exercise books,” Bhattacharjee told the cyclone survivors who gathered at a playground in Jogeshganj.

“But I can’t build pucca houses for all of you with the state government’s resources. The centre should give us money. It must allocate funds for putting up concrete embankments in the entire Sundarbans,” he said.

The chief minister also told people that work on rebuilding 60 percent of the mud embankments washed away in the area due to the cyclone was over. “The rest will also be over soon.

“I am going to meet prime minister Manmohan Singh on June 19. I think I can persuade Delhi to help,” he said.

He also spoke to administrative officials and asked them about relief operations.Hingalganj legislator Gopal Gayen, who was smeared with mud by some people hours before the chief minister’s visit June 2, seemed a relieved man after the visit.“This only proves Sundarbans is still the same. The people have not changed,” he said.

WBFDC launches first-of-its-kind Tourism Peace Park in the country

KOLKATA,Thursday, June 11, 2009: West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) in association with Help Tourism has launched the first-of-its-kind Tourism Peace Park in Noam Chel Teesta situated near East of Teesta River and between Neora Valley National Park, Garumara National Park and Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. This part of the said area, North of Oodlabari is mostly under the management of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) and the South area is mostly managed by the Baikanthapur Forest Division, therefore a major concern is the conservation of the rich natural resources. This Park has been launched in order to promote Community Based Tourism (CBT) in the East Himalayas. This information was divulged by Supratim Raj Basu, Ecotourism Consultant, Help Tourism.

In addition, CBT initiators have tied up with ten villages in the North of West Bengal where they provide various activities such as home stays, trekking, nature study, camping, cycling, forest drive, cultural encounters of six different communities et al for tourists visiting the Park. The main idea is to develop Community Based Tourism (CBT) and provide support to maintain peace and harmony among different communities existing there. They also provide various packages of six nights and seven days ranging between Rs 500-Rs 1,000 per person, per day. According to their brochure most villages situated inside the Park are not known and no modern development has been undertaken there as yet unlike other parts of West Bengal. The inhabitants find their livelihood from nature around them. The area is home to several animals like leopards and elephants etc.

According to certain sources, the initiative for developing the Tourism Peace Park was led by Pallab Basu of Oodlabari Tourism Development Association, officials of WBFDC and Help Tourism members. They had their first meeting regarding the same in December 2008 at a factory of Assam Bengal Veneer Industries (ABVI). The meet was attended by 61 local stake holders from the several villages.