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PROLETARIAN ERA
Published fortnightly from Kolkata

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Vol. 54   No. 18   May 1  2021

Electronic version Print copy not available

In this issue 

  • Long Live Historic May Day
  • SUCI(C) demands universal free corona vaccine
  • Why is this second surge of Covid 19 proving so disastrous
  • Digital panacea and digital outage
  • Myanmar massacre, humanity and people
  • Tamil Nadu SUCI(C) opposes backdoor permission to Vedanta Sterlite company to reopen air-polluting copper plant
  • Spiky Price Rise of Fertilisers — The BJP Government’s Next Move to Benefit the Corporate Sacrificing Farmers’ Interests

 

Long Live Historic May Day

(On the occasion of historic May Day, we publish a leaflet on May Day penned by great Lenin in April 1896)

The Workers Holiday — May First

 Comrades! Let us look carefully into the conditions of our life; let us observe that environment wherein we pass our days. What do we see? We work hard; we create unlimited wealth, gold and rich fabrics, brocade and velvet; we dig iron and coal from the bowels of the earth; we build machines, ships, castles, railways. All the wealth of the world is created by our hands, is obtained by our sweat and blood. And what reward do we receive for our hard labour? In justice we should live in fine houses, wear good clothing, and in any case not want for our daily bread. But we all know very well that our wages scarcely suffice for a bare existence. Our bosses lower the wage-rates, force us to work over-time, unjustly fine us. In a word, they oppress us in every way, and, in case of dissatisfaction on our part, they promptly discharge us. We time and time again discover that those to whom we turn for protection are friends and lackeys of our bosses. We, the workers are kept in ignorance, education is denied us, that we may not learn to struggle to improve our conditions. They hold us in bondage, discharge us on the slightest pretext, arrest and exile anyone offering resistance to oppression, forbid us to struggle. Ignorance and bondage — these are the means by which the capitalists and the Government, always at their service, keep us in subjection.

What means do we have to improve our conditions, to raise our wages, to shorten our working day, to protect ourselves from abuse, to read intelligent and useful books Everybody is against us — the bosses (since the worse off we are, the better they live), and all their lackeys, all those who live off the bounty of the capitalists and who, at their bidding, keep us in ignorance and bandage. We can look to no one for aid; we can rely only upon ourselves. Our strength lies in union; our salvation in united, stubborn, and energetic resistance to our exploiters. They have long understood wherein lay our strength, and have attempted in all manner of ways to keep us divided, and not to let us understand that we workers have interests in common. They cut wages, not everybody’s at once, but one at a time. They put foremen over us, they introduce piece work; and, laughing up their sleeves at how we workers toil at our work, lower our wages little by little. But it’s a long lane that has no turning. There is a limit to endurance. During the past year the Russian workers have shown their bosses that slavish submission can be transformed into the staunch courage of men who will not submit to the insolence of capitalists greedy for unpaid labour.

In various towns strikes have broken out; in Yaroslavl, Taikovo, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Belostok, Vilna, Minsk, Kiev, Moscow and other towns. The majority of the strikes ended successfully for the workers, but even unsuccessful strikes are only apparently unsuccessful. In reality they frighten the bosses terribly, cause them great losses, and force them to grant concessions for fear of a new strike. The factory inspectors also begin to get busy and notice the beams in the capitalists’ eyes. They are blind until their eyes are opened by the workers calling a strike. When in fact do the factory inspectors notice mismanagement in the factories of such influential personages as Mr. Tornton or the stockholders of the Putilov factory.

In St. Petersburg, too, we have made trouble for the bosses. The strike of the weavers at Tornton’s factory, of the cigarette workers at the Laferm and Lebedev factories, of the workers at the shoe factory, the agitation among the workers at the Kenig and Varonin factories, and among the dock workers, and finally the recent disturbances in Sestroretsk have proven that we have ceased to be submissive martyrs, and have taken up the struggle. As is well known, the workers from many factories and shops have organized the “Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class,” with the aim of exposing all abuses, of eradicating mismanagement, of fighting against the insolent oppressions of our conscienceless exploiters, and of achieving full liberation from their power. The “Union” distributes leaflets, at the sight of which the bosses and their faithful lackeys tremble in their boots. It is not the leaflets themselves which frighten them, but the possibility of our united resistance, of an exhibition of our mighty power, which we have shown them more than once. We workers of St. Petersburg, members of the “Union” invite the rest of our fellow workers to join our “Union” and to further the great cause of uniting the workers for a struggle for their own interests. It is high time for us Russian workers to break the chains with which the capitalists and the Government have bound us in order to keep us in subjection. It is high time for us to join the struggle of our brothers, the workers in other lands, to stand with them under a common flag upon which is inscribed: Workers of the World, Unite!

In France, Great Britain, Germany, and other countries, where the workers have already united in strong unions and have won many rights, they have established the 19th of April (the First of May abroad) [Before the October Revolution the Russian calendar was 13 days behind the West-European] as a general Labour holiday.

Forsaking the stuffy factories, they march in solid ranks, with bands and banners along the main streets of the towns; showing the bosses the whole might of their growing power, they gather in numerous large meetings, where speeches are delivered recounting the victories over the bosses in the preceding year, and indicating the plans for struggle in the future. Through fear of a strike, not a single factory owner fines the workers for absence from work on this day. On this day, the workers also remind the bosses of their chief demand: the eight-hour working day — 8 hours work, 8 hours sleep, and 8 hours rest. This is what the workers of other countries are now demanding. There was a time, and not so long ago, when they, like we now, did not have the right to make known their needs. They, too, were crushed by want and lacked unity just as we are now. But they, by stubborn struggle and heavy sacrifices, have won for themselves the right to discuss together the problems of the workers’ cause. We send our best wishes to our brothers in other lands that their struggle should quickly lead them to the desired victory, to the time when there shall be neither masters nor slaves, neither workers nor capitalists, but all alike will work and all alike enjoy life.

Comrades! If we will energetically and wholeheartedly strive to unite, the time will not be far distant when we, having joined our forces in solid ranks, will be able openly to unite in this common struggle of the workers of all lands, without distinction of race or creed, against the capitalists of the whole world. And our sinewy arm will be lifted on high and the infamous chains of bondage will fall asunder. The workers of Russia will arise, and the capitalists and the Government, which always zealously serves and aids the capitalists, will be stricken with terror!

April 19, 1896.

Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class

 

 

SUCI(C) demands universal free corona vaccine

 Demanding free universal vaccination for all countrymen to prevent the spread of Covid 19, Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI (Communist) D, in a statement dated 21 April 2021 said :

“The announcement of the BJP led Central Government that henceforth countrymen below 45 yrs. will have to pay the higher price for corona vaccine is highly shocking. It means poor countrymen will have to die without vaccine.

We all know that during the first wave of corona, this very PM was busy in organizing ‘Namaste Trump’ extravaganza and pushed lakhs of migrant workers to almost ruination. The same PM had earlier assured free vaccine to all and said that finance for the same would not be a problem. After the first wave,  the  government  got  enough  time  to fill the gaps in the medical infrastructure of the country. But it did nothing. Now making a U-turn, how can the government pronounce such a policy in a country like India where millions  and  millions  of  poor  and  destitute are struggling to have one square meal a day.

We cannot understand how a bunch of central ministers including the PM can waste hundreds of crores of money in air travel almost daily for election campaign while the countrymen particularly the working people are in dire distress in the wake of the second spell of the pandemic. Now the same PM has shamelessly placed all the responsibilities of saving the countrymen on the countrymen themselves and thereby washed off the hands of the government.

This is highly condemnable and we strongly register our protest against this irresponsible conduct of the Central Government. We once again demand universal free vaccination.”

 

 

Why is this second surge of Covid 19 proving so disastrous

 The whole country is reeling under the second wave of Covid 19. This resurgent spell of the pandemic is much more virulent than the earlier one and spreading very fast, taking in its sweep thousands of lives. The number of cases has been rising exponentially to over two lakh a day. Deaths are reported to be much higher than the official count. It was not unknown that there would soon be a second surge of corona. Already many other countries have been in the grip of this more deadly second wave and had much more casualty than the first spell. It has also been noticed that the countries which, after relative waning of the first spell, relaxed the preventive steps too expediently and ignored reckless violation of health protocols by their citizens have been affected most. In the meanwhile, a few vaccines have been discovered. But accessibility to the vaccines has been eluding most of the populace, particularly the poor and underprivileged millions, both because of paucity of supply as well as high price. It is because production of the vaccines is much less than what is required. Moreover, most of these vaccines are from private pharma companies which are driven by the motive of profit maximization. In such a condition, it is incumbent on the government of each country to facilitate production and procurement of these vaccines in sufficient number and make them available to common people free of cost. No civilized government can fight shy of this responsibility when the entire human race is faced with such an unprecedented health crisis. Also it is expected of a civilized government to fast ramp up the healthcare facilities by augmenting the number of hospitals, hospital beds, doctors, nurses and paramedics as well as ensuring availability of necessary medicines and oxygen to fight the pandemic and save the citizens. But when one turns to India, one is appalled  to  find  that  the  government  in  power, if judged on the aforesaid parameters, cannot be called a civilized one. A mere compilation of the various media reports in sequence would attest to this.

 

Spectacle of crumbling healthcare during first wave of the pandemic

When the pandemic first struck last year, the inadequacy and fragility of the healthcare system in the country dominated by private players was nakedly unfolded. As we had shown in Proletarian Era dated 1 July 2020, Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs)  which people  could reach with difficulties, are there only for name’s sake as PHCs and CHCs are 88% and 87% below prescribed IPHS (Indian Public Health Standard) respectively. So they are lying either abandoned or unmanned. According to the National Health Profile 2019, in government hospitals, there is one doctor per 10,926 persons. For a population of over 130 crore, there are only 25,778 government hospitals and 7,13,986 beds. There is no further statistics to show that the numbers have improved since then, save and except conversion of existing beds into Covid beds and opening of a few satellite centres to quarantine patients with mild symptoms. The budget for managing epidemics and natural calamities never exceeded Rs.100 crore in any year. In fact, the actual expenditure ranged between Rs.50 crore and Rs.60 crore from 2016 onwards. The budget for health sector disaster preparedness and management, including emergency medical relief and emergency medical services was halved in the Budget Estimates of 2018-19 from what was allocated in 2016-17. Has there been any change in last one year? The answer is an emphatic ‘No’. It has been amply clear that in order to reach out minimum medical assistance to the countrymen, the healthcare should be brought more and more under the aegis of the government accompanied by improved infrastructure, and commercialization of medical service should be progressively curbed. But the BJP government as per the prescripts of the disastrous National Health Policy (NHP) 2017, a blueprint for total privatization of healthcare, treaded just the opposite path. Most of the healthcare capacity added in the last few years has been in the private sector, or in partnership with the private sector (PPP model). While the government is reported to be owning only 3,593 hospitals (and the less said about the infrastructure of these, the better), the private sector owns as many as 11,810 hospitals in India. Thus, the private sector controls 76.67 % of the hospitals in the country.  29% of hospital beds and 81% of doctors are in private sector which runs largely on commercial basis and charges exorbitantly for treatment.

Since most of the healthcare is in private hands, the skeleton service provided by the already overcrowded government hospitals, mostly located in urban and semi-urban areas, were caught napping when the first outbreak of Covid 19 took place. There had not been any slackening in the commercial interest of the private operators even in such a hard time. Though there was prior indication of the pandemic, the government did not care to make arrangement for enough and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the doctors, nursing staff, health assistants and hospital employees. Exposed to the patients without necessary safety, many of the healthcare workers, including doctors  themselves had contracted the infection during first wave and many had lost their lives.

To keep this dirty game of eventual privatization and commercialization of healthcare shielded from public eye, much hype is being created even today centered around health insurance as if ‘Boost to Universal Insurance’ is guarantee of ‘Universal Healthcare’. In reality, “Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM)” introduced by the BJP government with a promise to provide a cover of Rs 5 lakhs per annum per family is a bunkum. When there is wanton lack of minimal health infrastructure and delivery mechanism, clamour over insurance cover is a cruel hoax. In fact, such schemes are convenient conduit for transferring public money to the coffers of insurance companies, mostly private, in the form of hefty premium. The private insurers are reported to have pocketed 97% of the premium income amount so far while claim-payment ratio has dipped to just 6.61%.

 

Worsened situation during second wave

It ought to be awkward for the BJP government to look back at mid-January 2021 when Union health minister Harsh Vardhan announced that India was heading for victory against the Chinese virus. But things proved otherwise. The second wave has surged forth after one year of the strike of the first spell. In between, there was some breather for about four months when the intensity of the first spell had gone down to some extent. But, despite clear indication of an imminent and much severe second wave, the BJP government did not take any concrete step whatsoever to improve healthcare delivery system, particularly to the downtrodden. As is being revealed daily, both government and private hospitals suffer from acute shortage of ventilators, beds, medicine and even oxygen. Life-saving drugs are being traded in the black market. Being denied admission, people are dying on the footpaths near hospitals. More are losing life in absence of oxygen. Patients are succumbing to Covid 19 inside ambulances in absence of oxygen. Even vaccines are in short supply. On the other hand, one thing not short in supply is dead bodies in crematoria and burial grounds. Obviously, one to all are enraged. Everyone is raising questions about  the government’s preparedness for the crisis that is thrust upon the countrymen. Everyone wants to know what the government’s plans are to save lives. One also wonders how could a government be so indifferent to the  threat to people’s life! The only conclusion that one is led to is whether the government has any intention to save people from the calamity.

 

BJP leaders have facilitated this deadly surge

Last year, it may be recalled, the BJP leaders were busy in organizing “Namaste Trump’ events and grabbing governmental power in Madhya Pradesh by engineering large scale defections when the virus was beginning to spread its tentacles. So due preparedness and preventive measures were not adopted for more than two months. Then after the nasty sectarian political agendas were over, the Prime Minister suddenly announced a nationwide Lockdown at four hours’ notice, throwing everyone off-guard. Then, he sarcastically went on advising people to clang utensils, blow conches and light up earthen lamps and torches as if that would keep the virus at bay. While the frontline health warriors were repeatedly asking for being provided with necessary kits and facilities to cope with the deteriorating situation, the Prime Minister, sorry to say, hypocritically asked people to cheer them with clapping and showered flowers on hospitals from helicopters to pretend how his government is effusive in applause to them.

In January last, the PM boasted, “We not only solved our problems but also helped the world fight the pandemic.” But in March, it became clear how hollow was his boasting. The loud hawker of “Atmanirvar Bharat” (self-reliant India) is now begging for oxygen, PPE, other medical equipment, medicine raw material and vaccines from other countries. Moreover, the PM himself is accused of being a supe-spreader and leading India into a viral apocalypse. Delhi High Court has pulled up the Modi government by saying “It appears you want people to die.”

 Indeed so. This year, when the situation is horrendous, vaccines, medicines, oxygen and life-support devices are in acute shortage, the entire health delivery system is in shambles and the doctors and health specialists have been repeatedly urging upon strict adherence to preventive protocols like wearing masks, periodically sanitizing hands, maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet and avoid crowding,  the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and other central BJP ministers and leaders, in their desperateness to win elections in the poll-bound four states and one Union Territory, particularly West Bengal, went on holding innumerable overcrowded, unmasked election meetings and road shows defying all such protocols.  The Prime Minister himself boastfully tweeted even on 12 April last about “speaking at a massive rally in Bardhhaman in West Bengal” where only a handful of people could be seen wearing masks. Before that, there was, as claimed by the PM,  a “huge rally in Krishnanagar, West Bengal”. Everywhere, the crowd was found ignoring health protocols with alacrity. When Prime Minister Modi does that, can Home Minister Amit Shah be left far behind? So Shah also went on addressing many such rallies. When Fortis Hospital authorities of Gurugram, Haryana sought Shah’s help for something they were told that he was busy in electioneering West Bengal. Who would look at these pictures of crowded rallies and say there is a debilitating virus wreaking havoc across the country, one that thrives on mask-less preys who gather in large numbers? The BJP’s unrelenting quest for partisan advantage has thus been glaringly on display in West Bengal in countless huge rallies without masks or any form of physical distancing risking propagation of the pandemic among the state’s 12 crore people. The consequence is seen now with rate of transmission being highest in West Bengal at 9.5%.

Even in Assam, there was complete absence of mask discipline in the election rallies as if Covid was over. In fact, the Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, a BJP heavyweight,  openly declared that there is no Covid and, hence, no need to mask up. Thus by conducting such high-voltage elections campaigns during the pandemic and that too, by rampant violation of the Covid protocols themselves, the BJP leaders including the top brass clearly gave a message that flouting medical advice is no offence. Thus the onus of putting the citizens’ lives at risk squarely lies on them. Also they have demonstrated utter disregard for both the electorates and the much-clamoured democracy. Why? Because they cannot look beyond winning elections and be saddled in power, no matter if that costs thousands of lives of the countrymen. And the role of the Election Commission (EC) which, unfortunately, has been seen to virtually go as per design set by the ruling BJP, including an 8-phase  poll schedule in West Bengal knowing fully well that this would gravely aggravate the infection surge, has also come under the scanner. Lambasting the EC for failure to maintain covid protocol during poll campaign, the Madras High Court has observed that “EC should face murder charges…for being most irresponsible institution.” The Court has also threatened to stop counting of votes. Clearly, holding of election amidst such a pandemic, and that too by ignoring medically prescribed precautionary measures, has not just been a folly but seems to be a crime. The logical question to ask is why were rational, logical steps not taken to mitigate this unfolding disaster? Is it that we do not have the wherewithal? The problem is that it was not the priority of the BJP Government of India. We can see the efficiency and planning when it comes to fighting elections. The entire gamut of the government has today been converted simply and formally into a formidable election-winning machine.

Secondly, the BJP Prime Minister and his fellow travellers have allowed Kumbh mela in Hardwar knowing fully well that this would act as a super-spreader of the virus. In fact, the actual due date for the ‘current’ Kumbh at Haridwar was 2022, not 2021. But it has been ‘advanced’ by a year at a time India’s second Covid wave was expected and epidemiological studies indicated that second waves of infection are always worse than the first. Why, because some astrological mumbo-jumbo told the  BJP that this was desirable. Hence the BJP leaders in consultation with the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, a constituent of the arch Hindu communal Sangh Parivar, preponed the ‘Mela’  knowing fully the dangers of the pandemic. Tirath Singh Rawat, the BJP chief minister of Uttarakhand is on record to have said in March last that there would be no ‘rok-tok’  – no restrictions – on pilgrims, and that with Goddess Ganga’s blessings, faith will triumph over disease. Thus the BJP top brasses have deliberately allowed the virus to increasingly circulate unchecked just to foment Hindu sentiment.

With Covid raging since 2020, one doesn’t need to have a PhD in public health to guess that an occasion like a ‘Kumbh Mela Shahi Snan’ (holy dip) could be a possible epicentre of a second contagious wave, which, given the conditions of the Kumbh, would most likely turn into a tsunami of disease. That is exactly what has happened in the past few days. The ‘Mela’, which both the Central BJP Government as well as even the BJP-led Uttarakhand State Government could easily have cancelled, has endangered the lives of millions of people by being a super-spreader event for Covid-19. The Haj was cancelled last year. Christmas celebrations were scaled down. The Ramzan gatherings are also restricted. To put a celebration on hold to safeguard the lives of the faithful is a far greater service to religion than knowingly putting millions at risk of contracting a deadly virus.

But the BJP, its mentor RSS and associate Sangh Parivar are least bothered.  Because  they foster blind Hindu religious faith, obscurantism and superstitions as well as Hindutva fanaticism with a twin objective of winning elections by polarizing the voters along religious lines and blunting the thinking process by banishing rationality and scientific bent of mind. It bears recall that last year, spurred on by the arch communal Hindutva doctrine, the BJP leaders instantly castigated Tablighi Jamaat meeting of 1,000 odd Sunni Muslims held in Delhi as a “super spreader”, holding it solely responsible for coronavirus infections all over India. The police filed a range of cases including attempt to murder, and a minister called Tablighis “terrorists” while a shrill media campaign suggested a sinister attempt at “corona jihad.” But when it was the case of Kumbh mela with participation of lakhs of pilgrims, the BJP leaders not just allowed it but even argued that since it is a holy Hindu festival, the corona would stay away from it. Uttarakhand chief minister also hastened to add that ‘Kumbh Mela’ should not be compared with the Tablighi Markaz, as “Maa Ganga’s blessings are there in the flow. So, there should be no corona.” Absurdity par excellence! Does Covid 19 distinguish its victims based on religious affiliation or overflowing devotion to perform religious rituals? A BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh who visited the Kumbh Mela, and is now Covid-19 positive, went on defending the government’s decision. “There were around a crore people, all protocol was being maintained,” he commented without, however, explaining how protocol was being maintained for such a large number. A Tablighi gathering attracting police action and Kumbh mela happening with official blessings shows a vivid communal approach to a public health crisis.

No one should be surprised at such idiosyncratic utterances of the BJP people because to them electoral interest and power-greed override all other considerations, even the least of humanness. Already elections to five assemblies were going on. Moreover, both Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand would go to polls next year. It also needs mention that the ‘Mela’ is a high-stake for the sadhus – not just for reasons of faith but also economically. It is an occasion to make money. The state government allocates particular spaces to each akhara which sub-lets smaller areas to the sadhus. The sadhus set up tents, connect a fan or two, and some bulbs, where their followers camp. The followers pay a nominal amount and that is how money is made. So the BJP from its vested electoral interest could ill-afford making the sadhus hostile at this juncture by cancelling Kumbh Mela as that might have alienated the ‘Sadhu Samaj’ (The Hindu ascetic community) and the devout Hindus who constitute their major vote banks. Also big section of these sadhus play an instrumental role in the mobilisation of Hindu votes during elections. How could the  BJP Prime Minister  upset them? Surprisingly, now after many mela-returned seers and common devotees have been afflicted by the virus, the Prime Minister is talking of token observance of the ritual. This is not out of any late realization but only playing to the gallery.

We are constrained to say this, because what has been the ground reality during a period of the last one year . On 23 April 2020, the total number of covid patients was 21,393 and daily death figure 41. We had then strict lockdown. On 23 April 2021 when the numbers have shot up to 1,62,695 and 2263, respectively the BJP leaders like PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have participated in huge electoral rallies with zero messaging on Covid safety and allowed the Kumbh Mela. By this, they have shown that nothing is more important to them than their petty self-seeking politics and electoral gains, not even a public health emergency or the safety of a billion-plus people they claim to represent.

 

How ‘golden’ are the BJP-ruled states?

During the election campaign in West Bengal, the BJP Prime Minister, Home Minster and other ministers-leaders of the BJP boasted that if they are brought to power, they would transform the state into “Sonar Bangla” (Golden Bengal). Bravo! But how golden have been the BJP-led states even in countering Covid pandemic? 6 Covid patients died at the Government Medical College Hospital in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh due to low pressure of liquid oxygen on 17 April night. Suppliers were being contacted constantly, but the vehicle did not reach till late night, due to which the pressure of oxygen supplied to the patients was reduced. Earlier, five Covid patients in a hospital  located in Madhavnagar, died also due to lack of oxygen supply there. It is evident that the BJP-led Madhya Pradesh Government did not take any concrete step to augment oxygen supply even after deaths in Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Sagar, Jabalpur, Khandwa, Khargone due to shortage of oxygen. And that was further proved when five more coronavirus patients in hospital in Galaxy Hospital, in Jabalpur city of  Madhya Pradesh died allegedly after the stock of medical oxygen at the facility ran out. Two Covid-19 patients, who were on life support, died due to a sudden shortage of oxygen at a private hospital in Deesa town of Gujarat’s Banaskantha district on 21 April. Hospitals in Rajkot are also complaining of acute shortage of Oxygen. Ironically, the Gujarat government had recently claimed in the High Court that adequate medical oxygen was available in the state. 14 Covid-19 patients had died in Lohia Hospital and Charak Hospital, Lucknow, Hospital Kannauj and the SJD Multi-Speciality Hospital in Dhanipur area in Aligarh district due to disruption in oxygen supply after shortage. Another coronavirus positive patient died in Lucknow due to the same reason on 14 April. Lucknow, the UP state capital, is still facing acute shortage of oxygen in about 60 government and private hospitals. Many hospitals have put up ‘oxygen out of stock’ notices on their display boards and advised relatives to shift their patients to higher hospitals having oxygen stock for treatment. At least two hospitals, in Gorakhpur said on 24 April that they were struggling to maintain uninterrupted flow of oxygen supply, jeopardising the lives of those under critical care. Durgawati Hospital in Barhalganj, 60 km from Gorakhpur city, where five patients died in two days, said it had to “slow down” the flow of oxygen for some patients as there was a delay in replenishing oxygen supply. In Uttar Pradesh, not one of the 14 hospitals reported having a functional oxygen plant. Shamelessly, the BJP chief minister of UP has warned that strict action would be taken under National Security Act against any individual spreading rumours about oxygen shortage, meaning asking for life-saving oxygen is an anti-national activity. In fact, the UP police has filed criminal charges under several clauses of IPC against an Amethi boy who had tweeted seeking an oxygen cylinder for his covid-afflicted grandfather who later died. The less said about the despotism and inhuman callousness of the BJP chief minister, the better.  It is also alleged that lack of timely care is hurting patients in Uttar Pradesh. Even Allahabad High Court held that VIPs getting preference in ICU admission or testing in the state. Taking a dig at the state government, the Allahabad High Court held that “Taking a dim view of the arrangements made by the government”, Court noted: “In any civilised society if public health system is not able to meet the challenges and people die for want of proper medication, it means there has been no proper development. …Those in the helm of affairs of governance are to be blamed for the present chaotic health problems and more so when there is a democracy which means a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” In the strongly worded order, the bench also observed that conducting the panchayat polls amidst the health crisis was a decision that invited not just criticism but also punitive action. On the footpath near the 600-bed studded Vidar hospital in Karnataka, another BJP-ruled state, many corona patients even with severe breathing distress are waiting for days to get admission. Even in Haryana, nine deaths have been reported due to non-availability of oxygen. Oxygen cylinders are reported to be sold in black market at a price ranging between Rs 4,000 and Rs 10,000.

 

Why is Oxygen in short supply?

Why is oxygen in short supply? Is it because the worsening situation could not be anticipated earlier? No, not at all. India declared the coronavirus pandemic to be a “disaster” on 14 March  2020. Ten days later, the government argued that it needed time to expand the country’s healthcare capacity. On 21 October 2020,  the Central Medical Services Society, an autonomous institution under the Union health ministry, floated a tender online calling for bidders to establish Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants in 150 district hospitals across the country. The PSA technology separates gases from a mixture in the atmosphere to generate concentrated oxygen that can be supplied to hospital beds through a pipeline, negating the need for hospitals to buy pressurised liquid oxygen from other sources. It was only seven months after the Indian government considered the country’s Covid-19 outbreak to be a ‘public health emergency’ that it began floating tenders to set up oxygen-generating plants in 150 district hospitals around the country, with 12 added later. An investigation has found that thus far, only 11 such plants have been installed – and of them, only five are currently running. Now, when, black-marketers are making hay as home oxygen stock is dwindling, the PM, under people’s pressure, is compelled to grant Rs 200 odd crores from his secretly held PM Cares Fund for setting up Oxygen plants which sycophant BJP leaders are hailing barefacedly.

 

Suppressing the number of dead

While such is the case of oxygen supply, availability of beds and negligence in treatment, official death figures furnished by the BJP governments in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are not tallying with the number of bodies cremated or buried. In the medical bulletin issued by Madhya Pradesh government on 8 April, the number of Covid deaths on that day was stated to be 27 in the state. But in Bhopal alone,  41 bodies were cremated that day following procedures. UP government announced that in the second week of April, 124 lives were lost due to Covid. But according to the record of the crematorium authorities, over 400 bodies were consigned to flames during that week.  In Varanasi, the constituency of the BJP Prime Minister, about half of the Covid deaths at crematoria and  graveyards are reported to have not been recorded. In Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the media persons saw that the number of bodies coming out of just one hospital was thrice in number of officially stated figure. According to an owner of a shop selling firewood for pyres, only 20-25 bodies are being burnt at one time at Harishchandra ghat. A few back some 1,500 bodies had been brought to this ghat for cremation. “We don’t even have enough wood for so many bodies,” he said. It is alleged that four to five bodies are burnt on a single pyre or buried in a single grave. An executive officer of the Varanasi municipal corporation, admitted that the records at their office pertain only to the electric crematoria in both ghats – and don’t include details of bodies being burnt using firewood and pyre at the ghat. The BJP-led Karnataka government reported 1,422 covid deaths in Bangalore between 1 March and 26 April. But data collated from 12 crematoriums in that city shows the number to be  3,104. In the capital city of Delhi, dogs are feasting on covid dead bodies lined up for cremation for over 20 hours. Bodies are being consigned to blames in dog burial centres. “The government cannot give beds, oxygen cylinder or medicines. But let them at least give space in the crematoriums”, said an aggrieved son when he took the body of his father for cremation in Gajipur area of Bihar. Manohar Lal Khattar, the BJP chief minister of Haryana has indirectly admitted suppression of death figures by advancing a queer logic: “No point making a noise over number of people who have died as the dead won’t come back to life”. And the PM is referring to gospels of Hindu scripture and advising the countrymen that “ this second wave is a test of our pain tolerance capacity”. What can one call these other than rationalizing a horrendous state-sponsored crime?

 

Black-marketing of essential drugs

The buck does not stop here. In a raid on a laboratory in Ahmedabad’s Ghodasar neighbourhood that had conducted more than 3,000 RT-PCR tests it was fund that there were no equipment or kits to conduct the tests. The laboratory fooled the public and issued fake reports. In two cases in different parts of Gujarat, police arrested black marketers who were selling Remdesivir, a drug for Corona treatment for Rs 12,000 per vial as against government-mandated price of Rs 800 per vial. As people are buying Remdesivir on the black market and reportedly selling their jewellery and homes for Covid-19 treatment in general in Gujarat, the news that the Gujarat government had sent 25,000 vials of the much sought drug to UP added to the sense of doom. The Gujarat government however continues to deny that it sent the drug to UP but Zydus Cadila, the Gujarat-based manufacturer of the drug is tight-lipped.  Surprisingly, when the Mumbai summoned a director of Bruck Pharma, a Daman-based pharmaceutical manufacturing company that manufactures Remdesivir for questioning about a huge quantity of the drug stored in Mumbai, Devendra Fadnavis, former BJP chief minister of Maharashtra  and another top BJP leader Praveen Darekar rushed to the police station and stated this stocking of the drug was as per advice of the state BJP who  had taken the initiative to reach out to various pharma companies due to the shortage of Remdesivir. It was further revealed that the pharma company did not have a marketing license to sell Remdesivir; it has to approach one of seven pharma companies that have marketing license for Remdesivir in India and got the same expeditiously at the intervention of state BJP leaders. This incident showed how the BJP leaders were involved in hoarding and black marketing of a crucial drug in such a horrific pandemic situation. Moreover, Covid drugs like Remdesivir, medical grade oxygen used in oxygen cylinders, and related supplements, currently attract 12 per cent tax which the Central BJP government has not yet withdrawn.

 

Allowing vaccine makers to reap super profit

Besides gasping for oxygen, beds, and even crucial medicines, the Indian citizens are also crying for vaccines. But the BJP Prime Minister who is sickeningly prone to self-eulogy, had announced a ‘Tika Utsav’, or a vaccine festival, between April 11 and 14, with the purpose of inoculating the maximum number of eligible people in a short time. In a virtual meeting with all chief ministers, Modi said he believed the ‘Tika Utsav’ would help “create a sense of achievement” for people after getting vaccinated. Notably, the nationwide vaccination drive was just taking off when the tidal wave had arrived, making the BJP government look prematurely complacent, overwhelmed and frankly underprepared. Yet, the bragging on the part of the ruling party did not lose steam. According to covid19india.org, the number of new vaccine doses administered on April 11 stood at 29,33,418 – much lower than new doses administered on 8 April (41,35,589), 9 April 9 (37,40,898) and 10 April  (35,19,987).  On 12 April, 40,04,520 vaccine doses were delivered, but on 13 April, the number dropped by 33% to 26,46,493. On 14 April, the number of doses given stood at 33,13,660. That means vaccines given during ‘Tika Utsav’ were less in number and also progressively declined. The BJP Prime Minister  claimed that India was the fastest country to give 10 crore doses of the vaccine. However, this claim is incorrect. The US took 82 days to reach this landmark, while India took 84 days In fact, the nationwide vaccination drive was just taking off when the tidal wave arrived, making the central and state governments look prematurely complacent, overwhelmed and frankly underprepared.

Not only that. The Prime Minister during Bihar election promised that every citizen would get vaccine free of cost. But now the central government has stipulated that the domestic vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute will sell only 50% of production of Covishield vaccine to the central government at Rs 150 per dose while they are free to sell the rest to the states at Rs 600 and even at Rs 1000 to the private hospitals corporates. Similarly, Bharat Biotech, another domestic company producing Covaxin would sell one dose at Rs 600 to the state governments and at Rs 1200 to private hospitals though they charge Rs150 per dose to the central government. A rough calculation shows that with such differentiated price structure, the combined profit of these companies would touch Rs 1.1 lakh crore. Squeezing people upto the last drop of blood even when death stalks them at the door is the summum bonum  of the policies and measures of the BJP and its governments. Moreover, despite shortage inside the country, India is reported to have been sending vaccines etc. to a number of countries solely with an objective to gain political mileage through the show of benevolence  and help the Indian manufacturers to  get an extended market to make extra profit. And those vaccines are available at cheaper rates in the recipient countries than India.

 

Sinister design of ruling capitalism must be frustrated

Thus, the pandemic has ripped apart all garbs of democracy, welfare for people or inclusiveness of the BJP government.  It is clear that this human disaster is majorly attributable to the most irresponsible and inhuman approach and attitude of the BJP-led central government. When the need was to fast improve the healthcare infrastructure, the government has prioritized central vista project of constructing new parliament house and beautifying adjacent areas by spending whopping Rs 20,000 crores, buying special aircrafts for the PM  and other VVIPs at an exorbitant price of Rs 8000 crores, installing statue  of unity at a cost of Rs 2,989 Crore, releasing central grant of Rs 675 crore for holding ‘Maha Kumbh Mela’ etc. Even amidst the procession of death, the IPL cricket extravaganza is going on with all pomp and grandeur to serve commercial interest of big corporates, a few super-rich and, undoubtedly, the underworld dons. Death can wait but not money-spiller IPL with a background of mega scam.

Further, of late, social media uploads by aggrieved citizens critiquing the government for such a catastrophe are being censored or removed. But can such highhandedness and wantonness suppress the truth? But why is the BJP least concerned about people’s crying need even during such a grave hour? Because ruthlessly oppressive capitalism today has crossed all barriers of civility and sensitiveness in satiating its urge for profit maximization. Stripped of all values, moral obligations and human essence, it feels no compunction in trading in the death, distress and destitution of the people like a heartless monster. And hence the BJP, now the most trusted servant of ruling Indian capitalism in craven subservience to sinister bourgeois class interest is so cynically unbridled in disowning the task incumbent on a civilized government. That is why great Lenin had said long back that “Capitalist society is and has always been horror without end.” (‘The Military Programme of the Proletariat’, CW, Vol. 23). He also pointed out “Everyone knows that bourgeois politicians always come forward with all sorts of slogans, programmes, and platforms to deceive the people. Bourgeois politicians always, especially before elections, call themselves liberals, progressives, democrats and even “radical socialists” solely for the purpose of catching votes and deceiving the people. This is a universal phenomenon in all capitalist countries. That is why Marx and Engels even referred to bourgeois deputies as people …who represent and repress the people through their parliamentary powers.”(The new Senate Interpretation CW Vol.11 p.335)

The pandemic will go away one day. But the scars would remain. To thwart recurrence of such a menace and ensure availability of due healthcare to all sections of toiling people, the oppressed millions need to close their rank and uphold their voice for justice in unison to force the government bend before their just demands.

[ Sources of information: DNA 01-04-21, Business Standard-09-04-21, 19-04-21, The Print-14-04-21, 21-04-21, 26-04-21, scroll.in 16-04-21, 28-04-21 The Wire-16-04-21, 18-04-21, 19-04-21, 20-04-21, 21-04-21, NDTV 17-04-21, 26-04-21, Times of India 18-04-21, 23-04-21, 26-04-21, Indian Express-18-04-21, The Tribune 18-04-21, The Hindu 18-04-21, 21-04-21, 24-04-21, India TV 19-04-21, Business Today-19-04-21, Hindustan Times 19-04-21, 20-04-21, QuartzIndia-19-04-21, ABP 19-04-21, 20-04-21, 22-04-21, 23-04-21, 24-04-21, 26-04-21, 29-04-21, Mint 20-04-21, News18 21-04-21, First Post 22-04-21, The Telegraph 23-04-21, The New Indian Express 23-04-21, The Economist 24-04-21, The Australia 26-04-21, BBC 26-04-21, Stan News-27-04-21, CNBC News 18, 29-04-21]

 

 

 

Digital panacea and digital outage

 Over three decades back when the bugles of globalization- liberalization were  blown across  the countries by the imperialist rulers and monopolist sharks, they also made loud trumpets of holding privatization high replacing state control as the panacea to save the world from prevailing economic crisis. The myth is busted, though the blood-sucking octopus of private ownership continues to dominate, rather now increasingly gravitating into the hands of fewer and fewer capital-behemoths.

With concentration of capital and power, there is a parallel deepening of irrevocable crisis. So the imperialists, the behemoths need other strings to play upon. Digitalization along with its accessories and ancillaries, like artificial intelligence, is being made one of the catchwords.

The BJP-led Union government of India is one of the most enthusiast  flag-bearers of a ‘Digital India’ campaign setting up a new normal. What this Digital India campaign has done to education, particularly with the online- ODL (Open and Distance Learning) mode of learning is now quite widely and distinctly known.  It has thrown an overwhelmingly major  bulk of students simply out of such education  system  of the ‘new normal’. With spiralling price hike and equally menacing job crunch and job loss, the victims fail to avail of the minimum basic requirements. With thousand and one problems in internet and even power connectivity, they are left stranded helplessly. With continuous grilling in front of computer/ smartphone screen  blooming minds and bodies of kid to young suffer health and psychological hazards. In a word, it has become a hell, where education is in total peril.

But in other fields too, ‘Digital India’ campaign is romping about only to create confusion and frustration. It is intended here to highlight an example from one sector, that is,  banking, to show how far all is well with the ‘Digital India’. The bank customers have now become familiar with thousands and one newer and newer incompre-hensible complexities involving digitalization being thrust upon them,  as well as with the loud or silent declarations like  “Service not available; server down”. The authorities would tend to argue that these are merely local. But the instance of a major private bank and the sufferings of its customers should act as  an eye-opener.

HDFC Bank is a fairly known institution particularly with the middle-income house owners who obtained their financing from this Bank. In little over 2 years from November 2018 to March 2021, the Bank faced at least 4 major technical snags. In November 2018 and December 2019, there were technical outages during which Internet and mobile banking were snapped. In November 2020 power outage at data centres caused services hampered.  Similarly, in March 2021, a loss of connection with data centres might have again caused  snapping of internet and mobile banking. Even customers have complained about not being able to access their deposits through the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) apps as well. As usual, there was a bunch of explanations from the Bank authorities who played it cool, saying it was an ‘intermittent issue’. The reality was that the outage persisted longer and on many counts. Naturally, customers were hit hard as the outage came on the penultimate day of the financial year and that too, after a long weekend.

Be it as it may, the crux  is that the panacea of  ‘Digital India’ does not work fine and  smooth. The outage or the associated problems are not restricted in time and place of occurrence. Even a  major Bank is not spared. The net outcome is,  the people fall victims. Who cares! It is the blue eyed project of a government committed to serve the corporate tycoons to their utmost pleasure. 

 

 

Myanmar massacre, humanity and people

All of them had come from Myanmar. Songsian, 24 year old, had been a rifleman; LS Thang of 32 years, a well-paid police officer. Corporal Jamkhanhao had just been married. Now they were in Mizoram, the border state of India. They were no tourists, nor led any delegation. Jamkhanhao had come to Mizoram with his ten colleagues after hiding in the forests for few days. He was completely in the dark about the whereabouts of his wife right now. Songsian was serving as a cook in a relief camp of 30 policemen, all from Myanmar. He did not repent his act of fleeing his country, despite being completely in the dark about his family, his wife, a one-year child and parents. Thang was now a daily wager in a Mizoram  stone quarry. His family, including wife, children and parents had taken shelter in a different village yet unknown to him. Thang was not alone. With him there were 18 more police personnel who had left their country about a month back. All of them, mostly policemen and fire service workers had fled their country for the same reason. They could not obey the order of the Myanmar army, the Tatmadaw, to shoot unarmed innocent peaceful protestors lined up before them in the head. They were revolted: This was nothing but murdering innocents. So they revolted simply and only for the sake of humanity. They could not accept the inhuman order. All of them knew it for certain that if they went back now, they would have to face court martial, the death sentence. They had lost their job, they risked their life. Yet they did not succumb to kill their own countrymen for no fault of theirs. They did not succumb to that brute barbaric order. In Myanmar, the army had brought in a terrible reign of terror and oppression. This is not the first time it has done this. Yet the recent continuous military onslaught killing around six hundred people by this time, and maiming still manifold more, had shaken the democratic-minded people of the world. The darkness deepened at the news of what these policemen and fire-service workers had been ordered to do. It showed the barbarity which the present day rulers of a capitalist country are capable of being plunged into. But the doom had the silver-line in the selfless sense of humanity which prevailed in these ‘deserters’. 

In Proletarian Era ( 15 February 2021 issue), a brief analysis was given, narrating  the recent military coup that ousted the elected government, led by State Counsellor Aung San Syu Kyi, and that perpetrated a ruthless massacre  of people protesting the coup on a massive scale. The intensity and ferocity of the military onslaught could be judged from simple facts. The army threw Syu Kyi, undisputed victor of an election, and other leaders and government officials behind the bars. They indiscriminately fired upon rising protests against the coup, against the army, on the streets of cities with intention to kill as evident from the bullet-hit heads of victims. In villages, in the name of containing and exterminating rebels, the army carpet-bombed  rebel-dominated areas, killing innocent civilians and forcing the survivors to flee to neighbouring Thailand for safety. The army undertook, once again,  ethnic cleansing on the plea of curbing terror,  and so on. Hundreds  have been already killed on the streets of  cities like Yangon and Mandaloy as well as in the rebel-dominated villages.  In the quite recent past this same army had unleashed terror, openly backed by Buddhist militants to help them drive away Rohingya  Muslims from the country. A humanitarian crisis was then generated. The present massacre is precipitating another crisis right now. The exodus of policemen and fire service workers deserting their forces has added to the crisis.

But queer enough, or rather typically inhuman is the response of the rulers of the capitalist countries. China, an immediate ‘big brother’ neighbour of Myanmar is completely and obliviously silent of the demonic role of the Tatmadaw. This is what  is implied in  diplomacy of the capitalist world. Now an aggressive imperialist country, fraught with a thousand and one problems of the recent intense economic-social crisis of the world capitalist system, China has only a fixed gaze on the rich natural resources of Myanmar and its strategically important position in South Asia and the Indian Ocean. For the Chinese imperialist rulers, Myanmar  must remain within their sphere of influence.

India, another immediate ‘big brother’ imperialist neighbour, is now frantically trying to shove into the domination of the Chinese rulers on Myanmar. In the earlier article referred to, it was mentioned that the BJP-led Union government of India had refrained till that time, from condemning the massacre of innocent people fighting for democracy. Instead, the Government of India had sent its representative to attend a military parade of the coup leaders on 27 March, the bloodiest day of the pro-democracy movement when 114 civilians were shot dead in a single day. Rightly the Myanmar people held in extreme contempt the Indian participation in the shameful Armed Forces Day parade, and in reaction opined  that those who ‘‘shook hands with the generals whose hands are soaked with our blood have brought disgrace to their own people and the international community’’. Obviously, the Indian ruling monopo-lists and their subservient Union government were under compulsion of competing with China in exerting or maintaining its influence upon the Myanmar army. To them, any opposition to the Myanmar army would  further weaken India’s position vis-a-vis China in the region. Shame on the diplomacy which  cares a fig for people’s life!

However, exodus of people, including innocent common villagers and security personnel and others, seeking refuge in the neighbouring state of Mizoram in India is continuing. While the state authorities at first received them sympathetically, the Indian government took a different view .

However, along the 510 kilometre long border between Myanmar and Mizoram, there is a Free Movement Regime of 16 kilometre width on each side, where anybody from across the border can stay for two weeks. Because of this zone, even under normal circumstances people of the adjacent districts of Myanmar come in close contact with Mizoram people. They are even  ethnically related in a way. Myanmar military junta has already written to the Mizoram government to send particularly the ‘deserters’ back. But neither the Mizoram government, nor a good section of people of that state are inclined to oblige. Rather, people including students are organizing charity shows, have taken up collection drives and are arranging relief camps for the people who fled Myanmar. The state government of Mizoram has written to the Home ministry of the Union government of India to recognize these people officially as refugees and give them shelter. Under this pressure which really comes from people of Mizoram, as also apprehending that continued military atrocities will increase the influx of refugees not only in Mizoram, but also in other north-eastern states, the Union government is now reportedly changing its stand. A spokesman of MEA has even expressed support towards restoration of democracy in Myanmar.

These are the twists and turns of foreign policies of capitalist countries, which only bring miseries and uncertainties to people. There may be further unwarranted or predictable moves. But the fact remains that, ultimately it is the pressure of democratic minded people which can bring them some relief from their rulers . Hence it is the duty and responsibility of democratic-minded people across the world to increase the pressure upon the ferocious, inhuman Tatmadaw to  stop their vicious attacks, release all political prisoners including Syu Kyi and other leaders and pave the way for restoration of democracy. Exploited, toiling people of the world pledge to stand by the hapless, utterly tormented Myanmar people.

 

Tamil Nadu SUCI(C) opposes backdoor permission to Vedanta Sterlite company to reopen air-polluting copper plant

 India’s largest copper smelter unit, the Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit, situated at the port town of Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu was closed following a prolonged people’s protest which ended in  shooting at a  peacefully rally of several thousand participants, killing 13 people including women and children on the spot and injuring more than hundred two years back.  The multinational giant has been frantically trying to reopen and has been approaching supreme court where they have not yet been able to get the favourable verdict. Now it has filed a writ petition seeking opening of the factory for maintenance so that oxygen gas can be produced in this medical emergency situation in the country. The Apex court has suggested the state government to consider this plea on humanitarian ground. An all-party meeting was convened by the State chief Minister to allow the unit to reopen the factory only for oxygen gas manufacturing on humanitarian ground to feed the urgent Oxygen requirement. Not only ruling AIDMK, all other parties- the DMK, BJP, Congress, DMDK,  CPI and CPI(M) attended the meeting. It has to be recalled that just a few days back the Tamil Nadu Government’s Advocate General has appeared before the High Court of Madras and deposed that the State is having sufficient production capacity and there will not be any Oxygen shortage in the State. But now,  permission to reopen the above controversial Sterlite factory, citing as if there is oxygen shortage now in the State, raised eyebrows of the  people.

Comrade A Rengasamy, Tamil Nadu State Secretary, SUCI(C), in a statement issued on 27 April 2021, severely condemned the move demanded  withdrawal of the decision forthwith.                

 

 

Spiky Price Rise of Fertilisers — The BJP Government’s Next Move to Benefit the Corporate Sacrificing Farmers’ Interests

 The brave peasants are continuing their stir against the rabid pro-corporate black Farm Laws for over 150 days. While defending the laws, right from the Prime Minister to all other BJP ministers and leaders claimed that those would entail prosperity of the farmers. But how hollow and deceptive are such claims are eloquently testified by the lately released unprecedented hike in fertiliser prices. India’s largest fertilizer manufacturer, IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative Limited), has suddenly announced a steep increase in the prices of various fertilisers at a stroke ranging from 46% to 58%. The price of a 50 kg sack of Di Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), .the second most used fertilizer in the country after urea, has been increased by Rs.700 from Rs 1,200 to Rs. 1900.  But just after announcing this sharp increase in fertiliser prices, considering the all-round critical reaction particularly West Bengal election, the increased tariff has been kept on hold but not rolled back. Who does not know that after allowing giant agri-MNCs and corporate sharks to take control of the agricultural input market, the cost of cultivation has soared up beyond limit causing immense financial hardship to the peasants. Many of them are borrowing heftily from the moneylenders but are defaulting repayment because of absence of remunerative price. That is triggering peasants’ suicide and eviction from land.

The BJP Government, as usual, is trying to wash of its hands arguing that it is not the government but the fertilizer companies have increased the prices of fertilisers. But how can the fertiliser companies arbitrarily increase price on such a scale? At present the price and distribution of Urea fertiliser is only controlled by the government. The price of all other fertilisers are controlled by the fertiliser companies. As per law of capitalist economy the companies aim to maximize their profits and to fulfil that greed they have increased the price of fertilisers beyond the sky citing customary flimsy pretext of rise in the prices of raw materials of fertilisers in global market. Is it the poor peasants who are responsible for this hike? Then why should they bear the burden? Why should not the government come to the rescue of farmers?  Because this government is not of the people but of the profit-monger corporates. The same thing is revealed in formulation of the three black Farm Laws which are going to hand over the entire crop procurement system and decision about the crops to be produced to the MNCs and big corporate players. The suffering peasants have understood that. So they are continuing their historic movement defying all odds including brutal  measures of the BJP government.

Strongly protesting this AIKKMS, the peasants’ wing of the SUCI(C) has called on all farmers to launch protest demonstrations against this. The Sanyukta Kishan Morcha, the united front of the farmers’ organisation leading the farmers’ protest movement in Delhi against agricultural laws have also condemned this huge price hikes of fertilisers. Farmer demonstrations have already started in different corners across the country.

 

 

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