Monday, December 27, 2010
DR. ASHIM DASGUPTA, WEST BENGAL FINANCE MINISTER, CONFIDENT OF PRICE RISE DUE TO INCREASE IN FREIGHT CHARGES BY MAMATA BANERJEE
ARAMBAGH, HOOGHLY: FOUR CPI (M) WORKERS ABDUCTED BY BUTCHERS OF MAMATA BANERJEE. THEY STILL REMAIN UNTRACED.
MUCH has been said about the funds for the development of cities from the World Bank and the central government. The central government initially chose
The state government has stopped giving grants which it was supposed to give under law on the pretext of central funds to the
For these projects, 30 per cent of the funds (around Rs 420 crore) have to be borne by the city corporation. The central and state governments have not released even the funds that they have comparatively expended for the JNNURM. The state and centre owe Rs 150 crore to the corporation. Above it, the centre has stopped the last instalment of the funds stating that the user charges and other conditionalities have not been implemented in time. As a result, at present there is no money with the corporation even for wages. Money is owed to the contractors. Development works like drinking water supply, underground drainage, laying/repair of roads etc have been stopped midway, subjecting the people to severe hardships.
PEOPLE ON THE ALTAR OF REFORMS
The poor people have become scapegoats of urban reforms. Burdens have increased, while facilities were curtailed. Slums were neglected. In the name of minimum tax, around Rs 50-153 has been increased in the tax on the huts. As a result of privatisation of lavatories, poor people who do not have independent toilets are shelling out Rs 300-500 as user charges for utilising the public toilets. The fee for issuing birth and death certificates has been increased by Rs 5-50. Taxes were imposed on small vendors who sell their wares sitting on roadside. Fee was levied even on using the premises of municipal schools where the poor had an opportunity to hold their marriage and other functions by Rs 100-1000. In the name of providing underground drainage, huge donations were levied. The corporation has withdrawn from mosquito eradication programmes. Every day poor families are forced to spend Rs 5 for mosquito control. On the whole the reforms are playing havoc on poor people lives.
BENEFITING THE RICH
In the name of reforms, street lighting, maintaining public toilets, etc have all been privatised. Rich people have been given an opportunity to construct and sell apartments, hotels in the valuable lands of the government and city corporation. Priority is being accorded for providing facilities like drinking water, maintaining roads, etc in the colonies of the rich under the pretext that they are ready to share part of the expenditure through contributions. They are introducing a scheme to supply water 24 hours – 24x7 scheme – in these colonies. Parks are well maintained in these colonies. All facilities are provided to the wealthy. This is the reason why rich classes, contractors, corrupt officials, bureaucrats and politicians are very happy about these reforms.
BURDENS IN THE NAME OF CONDITIONS
The World Bank and the central government have imposed almost similar conditions in the name of urban reforms. They have issued a diktat that 100 per cent costs have to be collected from the people who avail civic facilities. Local bodies have to mobilise their own additional incomes for their share. As a result, in these five years severe burdens were imposed on the people of
DISAPPEARING LOCAL GOVERNANCE
All the promises for strengthening the local bodies and giving more powers to them through the 74th Constitutional Amendment proved to be empty words. Local bodies have been robbed of their power to take decisions under their purview and were degraded to just implementing agencies of the diktats and conditionalities of the central and state governments. Without the knowledge of the elected council, the commissioner has signed on urban development plan that has dangerous conditions. It was later unilaterally adopted by the council without any discussion as a mere formality. Only after the CPI (M) has exposed this fraud, the corporators and the people have been given the copies. The state government has issued orders rejecting the resolutions of the council on doing away with the garbage tax and on giving concessions to the poor for change of name in the property tax receipts. The state government did not pay heed to the unanimous resolution of the council demanding the non-removal of the huts of the poor constructed on the
THEN AND NOW
Except for the CPI (M) all other parties welcomed the introduction of JNNURM in the
Saturday, December 25, 2010
THE non-Congress, non-BJP political parties have decided to take the issue of massive corruption in UPA regime among the people by holding rallies in major state capitals in the coming period. The first of these rallies will be held in
CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI general secretary A B Bardhan and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu met in
Addressing reporters after the meeting in the CPI state committee office, Chandrababu Naidu said that talks are on with other non-Congress, non-BJP parties for finalising the dates of the rallies in the respective states. He said at least six rallies would be held before the start of the next session of Parliament. He said the nation is being rocked by unprecedented scams of 2G, CWG, IPL etc and that unless the guilty are punished the confidence of the people cannot be restored.
Prakash Karat said that the 2G scam is the biggest scandal in the history of the country with a sum of around Rs 1.76 lakh crore involved and with so many corporates caught up in this. He demanded that the Congress and the prime minister must make clear the reasons for refusing to hold JPC probe into this affair. “Parliament is the supreme body representing the people of the country. Why is the government refusing to allow such a body to investigate a scam of such gigantic proportions”, he questioned. He asserted that only a JPC probe can reveal the reasons why the prime minister did not take any steps to check blatant violation of norms and also why he did not act to recover the losses to the exchequer. Karat felt that this scam is an assault on the people of the country as it was public money that had been blatantly looted. He demanded that the huge sums of lost money must be recovered by canceling the licences and auctioning the spectrum again on the lines of 3G spectrum.
A B Bardhan in his brief remarks said that every holy cow in the system including the judiciary is enmeshed in corruption and a campaign needs to be launched among the people against this all pervading corruption. CPI deputy general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy, CPI state secretary K Narayana, CPI (M) central committee member P Madhu and CPI (M) state secretariat member Y Venkateshwara Rao were also present in the meeting.
Earlier, Prakash Karat released the Telugu booklet on corruption in UPA regime brought out by the Central Committee for campaign among the people at a press conference in M B Bhavan.
RESPONDING to the CPI (M) Central Committee’s call for countrywide campaign against corruption from December 5 to 11, the
Mohan Lal, a member of the party’s state secretariat, presided over the programme. Addressing the gathering, CPI (M) state secretary P M S Grewal attacked the UPA government as being the most corrupt in the country’s history. He accused the prime minister of turning a blind eye to the plethora of scams which were going on in the UPA’s regime. He also accused the BJP of playing double standards on the corruption issue, citing their chief minister’s corrupt practices in Karnataka.
Sitaram Yechury, member of the CPI (M) Polit Bureau and Rajya Sabha MP, was the main speaker at the dharna. He said that it was for the first time in the country’s history that an entire session of the parliament could not function because of the government’s obdurate refusal to accept the demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the 2G scam. He stressed that only a JPC could look into the details of how was carried out such a big scam like the 2G Spectrum scam, which involves money equal to almost 20 per cent of the country’s annual budget. Yechury reminded that the same Congress leaders, who are rejecting the demand for a JPC, did not allow the parliament to function for 17 days when the Tehelka issue came up during the NDA’s regime. He also accused the BJP of playing a double game and said the BJP too is neck deep in corruption and loot of the country’s resources.
Pointing out that the amount of money and resources which were being looted by the politician-corporate-bureaucrat nexus through corruption was more than enough to take care of the basic needs of the poor and suffering people in our country, Sitaram Yechury appealed to the people to intensify the campaign against corruption so that pressure could be built on the government to not only punish those involved in corrupt practices but also recover the looted resources. The CPI (M), along with other secular parties, would start a big campaign after the winter session of the parliament to expose the government, he informed.
CPI (M) state committee members Nathu Prasad and Sidheshwar Shukla also addressed the dharna.
IN Haryana, the CPI (M) took out an impressive procession in Fatehabad city on December 11 against the series of corruption scams exposed in the recent months. This was part of a week-long countrywide drive demanding the JPC probe into the 2G Spectrum mega scandal, recovery of the entire looted money, arrest of all those involved in these scams and more stringent laws to curb corruption.
Similar activities have been conducted all over the state according to the party state secretary, Inderjit Singh said while addressing the party gathering at Fatehabad. He also lashed out at the Haryana government for formalising and institutionalising corruption as it was clandestinely transferring huge amounts of money to politically favoured persons under the garb of public private partnership (PPP). Singh also stated that the all pervading corruption under the present UPA regime or under the erstwhile NDA rule was an inevitable consequence of the bankrupt policy regime of liberalisation, privatisation and so-called ‘reforms.’ He regretted that the prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh had himself commented that our country could not afford crony capitalism but, on the other hand, he was refusing to take note of the corrupt nexus of big business, politicians and bureaucracy which was plundering the national wealth. Inderjit Singh declared that the CPI (M) would continue to focus its campaign against corruption which was infecting the very roots of democracy, threatening the rule of law, leading to the denial of equal opportunities to the weaker sections and posing a serious challenge to our national security.
The processionists later held a meeting at Jawahar Chowk where former CPI (M) MLA Harpal Singh and Ram Kumar Bahbalpuria addressed the gathering. A rickshaw decorated with popular cartoons against corruption attracted a lot of attention from the people passing through the main bazaars.
(As the Anti-Corruption Campaign Week of the CPI (M) is still continuing, more reports are expected next week.)
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of
THE EU summit in
There are several areas of concern in the texts being negotiated for the Indo-EU Free Trade Agreement. It is understood that the EU is demanding measures that go beyond TRIPS, and would affect the viability of low priced generic medicines in the country. The EU is also seeking accelerated access to Indian markets, particularly diary and agri-business, that could jeopardise the livelihood of farmers, fisherfolk and small businesses. The investment and financial services obligations being demanded by the EU would have detrimental effects on domestic industry, result in giant retail chains pushing out small vendors and trades people, compromise the government’s ability to direct credit into required areas and destabilise India’s financial sector at a time when the world is going through its worst financial crisis in recent memory. The EU has also made strong demands to open up the system of government procurement which, if accepted, would further jeopardise the country’s faltering public distribution system.
The CPI(M) reiterates firmly that the government does not have the mandate to negotiate the Indo-EU FTA without first having consulted diverse sections within