IFTU President Dr Aparna to address AIKMS Conference, thousands to open rally tomorrow

IFTU President Dr Aparna will be a guest speaker during the third All India AIKMS Conference. It was informed that 10,000 farmers from various parts of the country will participate in it. Here’s a curtain raiser.

The third All India Conference of the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) shall begin with a massive rally tomorrow at 2 pm. The rally shall begin from the Chandra Shekhar Azad park, passing through Vivekanand and Subhash crossings. It shall culminate in a public meeting at C. A. V. grounds, from 4 to 6.30 pm. More than 10,000 farmers from different corners of the country are expected to participate, according to a press release.

The meeting shall be addressed by the AIKMS leadership along with the guest speaker for the meeting Dr Aparna, who is the national president of the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). Dr Aparna, a medical graduate from the prestigious Lady Hardinge Medical College of New Delhi, had been leader of progressive doctors and civil liberties movements. For the past 34 years she has championed the cause of the working class and women’s rights as a leader of the revolutionary trade union and women’s movement in the country.

The conference shall be inaugurated by Justice BG Kolse Patil, former Judge of Mumbai High Court on 3 April at 10 am at Rajarshi Mandapam Hall. A veteran social activist, Justice Patil resigned from the High Court in 1990 to serve the people and has led the Rayagadda and Jaitapur anti displacement movements. He enquired into the Kharilanji Dalit Killings and killings in Nanded, Gujarat and compared them to Samjhauta express explosions.

Another highlight of the conference shall be the lecture on ‘Peasant Masses and Agrarain Crises Today’ by the noted agricultural economist from JNU, Prof. Ravi Srivastava. The lecture shall be delivered on 4 April, at 9am.

More than 600 delegates from 11 states will attend and they have already started arriving in Allahabad.

AIKMS conference shall critically deliberate upon the continuing anti-farmer policies of the central government despite admitting that the agrarian sector in the country is in deep crises. It has granted more loans and funds for irrigation equipment which will further endanger the survival of Indian agriculture by enhancing the ground water depletion and catering to increased sale of MNC products while impoverishing and indebting the peasantry and forcing mortgaging of their land.

2011 census declared 54.9% of farmers as landless. Illegal tax extractions by powerful landlords continue. Welfare schemes meant for the poor are riddled with corruption by officialdom. This is further aggravating their displacement from land. Urbanization, Smart Cities, Thermal Power plants and industries on farm land and forced land acquisition is uprooting farmers, rendering them jobless and intensifying the food crises.

MS Swaminathan Committee had declared in 1990-91 that more than half of the peasants have no land while 54% of farm land is owned by just 3% farmers. He recommended land distribution to the poor. To redress the problem of deficit returns to farmers he recommended that the Minimum Support Price, MSP, of crops should be at least 1.5 times the cost of production including cost of labour.

But the governments, including the present BJP government, have paid no heed to this. Vast tracts of agricultural land, including river bed lands continue to remain under landlord – goonda control in the name of trusts, temples, orchards and also Bhoodan donations illegally with support from police and administration. These can provide livelihood to the poor, solve the problem of unemployment and prop up Indian markets by increasing earning of the poor.

Continuing anti farmer, pro corporate policies, Mr Modi constituted Shanta Kumar Committee which recommended discontinuing of minimum support price, stating that only eight percent farmers are benefiting from it. It recommended that sale of crops be left to the private sector and rations in PDS should be replaced by cash transfers.

The govt. has also not implemented 2006 Forest Rights Act. Tribals, numbering 12 crores remain deprived of land and forest produce rights and are forced to migrate to cities to work as cheap unorganized and domestic labour.

AIKMS being held in Allahabad, is the first All India peasant conference being held in Uttar Pradesh. It shall address above problems and demand decrease in input costs, govt. guarantees of profitable purchase of crops, measures to harvest rain water in deep ponds and canals, make welfare schemes corruption free, grant Rs 500 wage rate in MNREGS, supply of all essential items in ration and Rs 3000 per person Pension amongst others.

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