April 19, 2010


KOLKATA: Besides West Bengal, the joint action force is operating in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, and Bihar to oust the ‘Maoist’ from this region.

To inspect this operation, readers will not fail to note, Chidambaram has chosen Lalgarh in Bengal as his place of visitation In relation to this it is to be noted that the now-hot-now-cold ‘ally’ of the central government the Trinamul Congress has been persistently condemning the role of the joint action forces’ drives.

On 3 April in Delhi, Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata had a half-an hour meeting with Chidambaram. According to the central home ministry, Lalgarh has been chosen for the visit mainly for ‘security-related’ [?] reasons.

It is important to note that Andhra Pradesh is greatly affected by the ‘Maoist’ predicament. Nevertheless, none from the central home ministry much less than the home minister, has visited that state. On Thursday the home ministry claimed, much to Didi’s chagrin, to have been a ‘success’ in bringing down ‘Maoist’ activities under control, especially at Lalgarh thanks to the ops of the joint action force.

From 18 June of last year onwards, in the western part of Bengal, the joint action force has begun its work. Before this operation in Bengal, the joint force has been in operation in Chattisgarh. Later on, the joint action force has been in operation in Orissa and Jharkhand against the ‘Maoist’ brutality. No visits from the home ministry were warranted in these instances.

We recall how, to combat the ‘Maoist’ force, there had been a meeting organized by the central home ministry with the chief ministers of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar. The meeting was conducted in absence of the chief ministers of Bihar and Jharkhand. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee the chief minister of Bengal and the chief minister of Orissa Navin Pattanayak attended the meeting among others.

We note here how the state Left Front government came to know about this ‘surprise’ visit of the home minister at the last possible moment. The present call of Chidambaram is merely for political reasons and this is the view of the mass of the people of Bengal and beyond. Through this visit, the Pradesh Congress wants to gain electoral mileage before the next and upcoming civic election.

Nonetheless it is interesting that despite tall promises and much drumming up of the political kind by the rainbow opposition here in Bengal, Chidambaram has nay’ed visits to those villages of Mangolkote in Burdwan where Trinamulis and Congressites have jointly carried on bloody and murderous assaults on both the CPI (M) leadership and the CPI (M) workers. (B PRASANT)

Two new faces in Bengal LF ministry

KOLKATA, 6th APRIL, 2010:  Soumendranath Bera, CPI(M) legislator from Purshura, and Dasharath Tirkey, RSP legislator from Kumargram, were sworn in to the state Cabinet by Governor M K Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan on Tuesday. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, along with his Cabinet colleagues, was present on the occasion. Chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakraborty, home secretary Ardhendu Sen, DGP Bhupinder Singh, LF Chairman Biman Basu and several other dignitaries were present at the swearing-in ceremony.With the induction of the two ministers, the strength of the Cabinet now stands at 45.

 The Congress and the Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, boycotted the function. While the Trinamool skipped the function in pursuance of its policy of avoiding the chief minister on all forums, the Congress said it was not invited. “Why should we go there if we are not invited?” said Manas Bhuina, Congress Legislature Party leader.

With the daunting task of improving his party’s chances in the upcoming civic polls and 2011 Assembly elections, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has finally appointed a deputy in the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs in order to focus on party activities and other issues plaguing the state. Interestingly, the CM held this portfolio since the time Left Front came to power in 1977.

Forty-seven-year-old Dr Saumendranath Bera, also known as Anjan, a Professor of Journalism in Calcutta University, was sworn in as Minister of State for Information and Cultural Affairs (I & CA) on Tuesday. On being inducted as a minister, Bera said: “I have just taken charge today. Let me settle down first and then I will talk.”

CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb said: “Bera was taken in place of former power minister Mrinal Banerjee who passed away recently. Of course, we also wanted to take a major workload off the CM’s shoulders as he is our main campaigner for the upcoming polls.”

A party leader said: “With the Maoist menace becoming a serious law and order problem, the CM will have to devote more time to the home ministry. Also, with the elections around the corner, he will have to crisscross the state and campaign for the party. That is the other reason for inducting Bera.” “It is for the chief minister, who is also the minister in-charge of the department, to delegate the powers. But it seems that Bera will have to take the entire charge of the department just like the way Abdus Satar of minority affairs department does,” an official of I & CA department said.

Eldest son of Bishnu Bera, who was also a CPI(M) legislator, Saumendranath completed his graduation from Bangabashi College, Kolkata, and later did his Masters in Journalism from Calcutta University. Now, a professor in the same university, he is associated with various academic committees.


KOLKATA(INN): The Bengal Left Front government has put in at the service of the rural people close to one thousand more doctors. This is in addition to the several thousands of medical practitioners already set in place in the villages, especially in the remote areas.

There shall now be at least one fully qualified doctor per Panchayat. The move, we strongly believe, shall take the state government ever-closer to the rural masses as an ongoing process of pro-people action. The state government has been of the view that the residences of the doctors should be close to the place of work for benefits that shall be two-way.

It is mortifying to note that all districts except south 24 Parganas – where the Zillah Parishad is controlled by Didi’s men – had put in the requisition forms for the number of doctors they would like to have, mentioning in the process the gaps and lacunae at the level of the villages. Thus, south 24 Parganas shall be bereft of the additional component of medical practitioners, this time around.

The process of how the villages themselves fix requirement quota for doctors is interesting enough to cite as an example of people’s power. There is a committee at the level of the Panchayat samity. The Sabhapati of the Panchayat Samity chairs the committee; the Block Development Officer is the convener. The committee includes such other functionaries as the Karmadhyakhsha of the mass health committee; the Pradhans of the concerned Gram Panchayats; the Block medical Officer; and an experienced medical practitioner.

This committee sits and decides on how many health officers are required where. The work follows the rural health mission guidelines. Interestingly, the medical practitioners/doctors being posted include allopath doctors, homeopaths, yunani practitioners, and ayurvedic doctors.



KOLKATA(INN): The Bengal units of the CPI (M) and the Left Front have called for a convincing win for the LF candidates in the 81 municipal bodies that go to the polls in June later this year. The bodies include the Kolkata Corporation and the Salt Lake municipality.

Both have LF boards albeit by a thin margin. The LF is in control of the majority of the municipalities in Bengal. The Bengal Left Front has drawn attention to the unprecedented work in urban development that could be organised and piloted by the LF-led boards.

This time around, as in the past the campaign preceding the polls must also focus on the developmental work done by the Left Front government and also draw attention to the way in which the CPI (M) and the Left Front had stood by the mass of the people in all circumstances, in adversity and in happiness.

The Bengal Left Front has decided that the nominees for the post of the councillor must work full time for the civic body they are elected to and they must devote a large slice of time in the task of interaction with the masses-- deeply and widely as in the past decades.



KOLKATA, 31st MARCH-One remembers the SMS-resigned MP from that unique outfit (called the Didi’s faction even today in Pradesh Congress circles, and beyond,) and the latest name of this worthy is ‘Kabir’ Suman neĆ© Suman Chatterjee, as the crude face of the reactionary right/sectarian left (choose both in his case, please) who ‘wanted to be happy each morning only if he saw five CPI (M) heads rolling by,’ and called for ‘death to all CPI (M) workers.’

On 29 March he sent forth a text message to Didi expressing his desire not to continue with his membership of the Lok Sabha. He then called a media conference where he said in so many words the following about the outfit he was so enamoured of even till 28 March:

• Trinamul Congress is filled with people of the light-fingered brigade whom he called the ‘eaters’ or khaobadi to rhyme perhaps with his own brand of Maobadi

• He, Suman, has been meted out great dollops of insults by Didi’s men everywhere he goes

• The outfit would not allow him to provide direct employment to his personal brigade of goons, the ill-gotten task having to be routed through Didi, perhaps, he would not clarify despite goading

• He loves the Maoists and has composed a song dedicated to the criminal Chhatradhar Mahato (presently languishing in jail custody on several murder charges), and the outfit would not give it publicity (i.e., would not get the CD sold under that outfit’s banner, how sad)

• He is always superseded by men who would serve him ‘tea and biscuits’ at his call when he, Suman was Didi’s man and not a ‘mere’ common-or-garden MP.

Then the Patrika group swung into action

• First the resigned MP said that he would send in a formal letter of resignation but never did
• Then he was made to say that he will go to the people and not the Lok Sabha.
• Finally today 31 March he has declared that he would ‘reconsider’ his decision to resign, which in fact he has never done, formally speaking.

We may only conclude with a popular saying dating back from colonial Bengal when the poor people here would often have cause to carp about the pro-British Bengali middle class (babus) and say ‘are they mad or simply devilish?’ The aphorism is appropriate here, we do believe.  



KOLKATA: When the news that Kanu Sanyal (b. 1932) who had been one of the organisers of the Naxalbari movement in the mid-1960s had died after choosing to take his own life, Biman Basu reacted to the news and spoke to PD, at length.

Biman Basu recalled that Sanyal had started his life in the Communist Party from years prior to 1947 and that he maintained direct relations with the common people, especially with the kisans. In the post-1947 years and decades, Sanyal worked tirelessly for the masses.

Subsequently, in 1967, Sanyal switched to Left sectarian politics. Sanyal, said the CPI (M) Bengal state secretary, was the one of the early organisers of the Naxalbari movement and the CPI (M-L). The CPI (M) leader clarified to say that though Sanyal chose to remain with his brand of left sectarian political outlook and activities, he “was gradually undergoing a political change”.

Sanyal, said Biman Basu, started to face and judge issues based on reason, and very recently, when the ‘Maoist’ menace started to take shape in the Bengal political scene, Sanyal had remarked, echoing Mao Ze Dong that there was ‘nothing called ‘Maoism.’ Sanyal also agreed with the notion that there was a Communist Party of China and that what Mao practised was Marxism-Leninism. That was Sanyal’s firm stand to the last.

“During the last couple of years”, Biman Basu said, “We have noted that whenever slogans were raised against imperialism and communalism, he and his party, the COI (M-L) associated themselves with the Left and democratic forces.

On a number of occasions, Biman Basu recalled, how “we worked with Kanu Sanyal in the city Kolkata against imperil aim and communalism.

“We,” continued the Bengal CPI (M) secretary, “also had had a discussion with him but that session did not materialise into anything fruitful.

Biman Basu concluded to say, “Sanyal’s demise and the report of how he had ended his life life, is sad. Nevertheless, we must ponder over the austere life he led at Hatighisha in a remote part of the terai region, and the way he chose to stick to his own conviction, and this is really something from which we are to learn the correct lessons.” (B PRASANT)

Naxalite leader Kanu Sanyal commits ‘suicide’

Siliguri, March 23 (PTI): Former Naxalite leader Kanu Sanyal allegedly hung himself to death at his home near Siliguri on Tuesday. Sanyal, 78, was suffering from kidney-related ailments.

Sanyal, was found hanging in his room at his residence in Seftullajote village, 25km from here, inspector-general of police (North Bengal) K.L. Tamta said.

At the time of his death, he was general secretary of a new CPI (Marxist-Leninist) group, formed by the merger of several splinter groups of the original party.

Along with co-chairman Charu Mazumdar and Jungal Santhal, Sanyal formed the dreaded triad that gave birth to the Naxalbari movement. The movement in the later years had transformed into an even bloodier Maoist struggle but he had openly disapproved of the strategy of armed struggle after his release from jail in 1977.

The trio spearheaded the movement, which began with a peasant uprising at Naxalbari, a small village, on May 25, 1967, in north Bengal.

The then officer-in-charge of Phansidewa police station Amarendranath Pyne was killed by an arrow shot by the Naxalites, as they came to be known, thus starting a series of killings of landowners, policemen and those associated with the establishment.

Sanyal had even actively solicited help from the communist government in China to further his goals, but it could never be established whether this was moral, tactical or financial.

He was a critic of land acquisition by the Left Front government in Singur and Nandigram and criticised it calling it capitalist.


KOLKATA(INN): The budget placed in the Assembly for 2010-1011 by the state LF government’s Finance Minister, Dr Asim Dasgupta makes a precise policy statement that permeates the budget.

Dr Dasgupta notes that in the environment of the price rise affecting the country, the welfare role of the state government, operating as it does in a limited power framework, has to be strengthened.

The main direction of the budget is thus to increase generation of employment and the income of the common people, especially the poorest of the poor.

Production has to be increased and to increase the production in agriculture and industry must be done in such a manner that employment and income of the mass of the people shall ne widely increased, special focus being on minority communities, backward classes and women.

In the case of agriculture, land reforms shall continue creating more opportunities for the poor kisans and lessening whatever remains of monopoly control in the countryside. Dasgupta maintained that the highest employment generation in the rural area continued to be from the land plots of small and marginal farmers, a thesis we recall he had propounded at a seminar way back in 1985 as a member of the state planning board.

Acquisition homestead land for the poor kisans will continue. Irrigation facilities shall increase further along with use of improved seeds, organic and bio-fertilisers, and newer agricultural techniques. The rate of growth of the state-level GDP has gone up to 4.2% as compared to (-) 0.2% for the country as a whole.

Production of cereals and lentils as well as vegetables and fish and fruits has increased as an ongoing process. The plan outlay for agriculture has been fixed as Rs 228 crore from Rs 178 crore in the last FY.

The allocation for irrigation has been increased, as has been that for forestry. The credit system for the rural banks has been made more user-friendly with adequacy of funds flow. The procurement price for agricultural products has bee widened. The average daily wage rate in the villages has gone up to Rs 83 and is increasing further.

With the demand emanating from the internal market, including a powerful rural market, increasing. Industrial development has grown apace. The potential for a take-off has been created for sectors related to small, medium, and large industries.

The investment last year in the industrial sector, Rs 7000-odd crore has been realised from 121 industrial units and has created more than 45,000 additional employments.

However, in the realm of employment generation, the self-help groups that number 10.46 lakhs top the list. They have created an additional 3.5 lakh employment last year.

Other highlights of the budget are:

• Poor APL people supplied with rice at Rs 2 per kilo

• Wage for unemployed workers of closed units increased

• An additional 44 sector workers added to the pool of unorganised workers’ benefits

• Minorities’ development budget head has been doubled

• Assistant teachers, para teachers’’ pay increased

• Newer employment schemes in the cities in the pattern of rural employment planning

• 4200 additional schools to be set up

In concluding his budget statement, Dr Asim Dasgupta said that in the path of development being chalked out by the Left Front government from 1977, the honour and privileges of the mass of the people had always been held high. The masses shall overcome as always the obstacles created by the urban and rural stakes, and the ‘people shall create history’ in the days ahead. (B PRASANT)