otto's war room banner

otto's war room banner

Friday, April 03, 2020


By Harsh Thakor

Punjab state today is a splendid example of how as a result of sustained organized movement of landed peasantry and agricultural labour a most qualitative relief campaign has been undertaken against the Corona Virus epidemic for the toiling sections. The main theme was undertaking the relief with the perspective of making the broad masses understand how a just socio-economic order could have averted such a crisis .What was impressive was the methods deployed taking class lines into account and accordingly dividing work in areas and studying which areas should be given priority in accordance to work.

The spark of the of indignation towards neglect of government is encompassing many villages and towns of Punjab ,reassembling a pot simmering at its boiling point.Continuously they have to face the barrage of police beatings.

The leaders of the organizations have in press releases explained how such a shutdown called by the government can only be effective if the labouring sections are given an alternative in terms of food rations, compensation wages etc. They highlighted how the state government has given no viable alternative in the present scenario leaving particularly the dalit agricultural labour helpless who have been robbed of their daily work. A most important aspect explained was how the semi-feudal economic order was responsible for the spread of such diseases with no adequate hospital structure for the common man. It is the strong conviction of the revolutionary mass organizations that Punjab has no infrastructure to protect its common people from epidemics with the exploitative socio-economic order prevailing which denied basic rights.he sheer apathy of the Narendra Modi government was also exposed which forced so many labourers to migrate from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh.

The most prominent relief work has been undertaken by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) ,Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Zameen Prapti Sangharsh commitee and Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union. Wearing masks and insulating themselves with greatest caution in more than 200 villages grains have been distributed. Posters have been stuck calling for people to implement santization. The activists have set up a vivid model of how relief should be undertaken when facing such a grave crisis.

Residents of villages, bastis, slums and residential areas in Jalandhar town banged utensils on their rooftops to protest the unavailability of food on a call of the Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee and Pendu Mazdoor Union.Residents of Nurmahal, Nakodar, Shahkot, Jalandhar West, Kartarpur, among other areas stood on their rooftops banging pots, pans, containers, tin cans and utensils.

While many daily wage labourers, farm labourers, rickshaw-pullers and vendors have been rendered workless due to the lockdown, activists said arrangement for food was not yet made. Activists also said many of the panchayats were not providing groceries.

In Sangrur in 52 villages people protested the non-availability of rations .Women protested carrying empty eating vessels. They resolved to struggle till the last tooth til their demands were met. Zameen parapt Sangarsh commitee activiss explained how the government policies has robbed hundreds of people of unemployment.In Bhawanigarh,Malerkotla,Sherpur, Lehra,Deoba and Sunam women demonstrated outside their houses.

Zora Singh Nasrali, president of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union narrated how in normal day to day lives agricultural labourers were seeking work with constant threat of unemployment and such a call by the Centre would literally throw them into a pit.He explained how it would rob them of even the most minimum daily wage .In Nasrali's view it was double standard of the rulers in power to hold people in detention centres protesting for democratic rights and then call for social distancing.He advocated distribution of grains which would be undertaken with great planning.

In the view of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union secretary Laxman Singh Sewewala , the conditions of daily wage labouresr familes are deteriorating day by day.He narrated examples of 63 year old Mukhtiar Kur,of Khuan Khard village in Muktsar and family of 45 year old Manpreet Kaur.from Khuda Halal vilage in Muktsar.and 73 year old Gurdev Kaur.Manpreet and Gurdev have been unable to provide for their ailing sons suffering from psychiatric problems but now ere deprived of rations ,medicines or flour to provide for them.Gurdev and wife were forced into begging.There was a similar case with Veer Chand and Meera Devi whose pensions are on the verge of being finished.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union initiated their campaign from March 27th to reach the farmers and other poor families to save the food supply for farm workers and other poor families. 51 villages were traversed.In 7 Districts, essentials had been increased in 23 villages. It encompassed 10 villages of Sangrur,6 of Bathinda and 1 in Ludhiana .They were vehemently critical of the govt polices which gave scant respect to the genuine grievances faced by the people who were denied basic needs.Proper emergency centres were not channelized which were imperative in this hour.

The farmer leaders made a demand for abolishing tax pass to villagers .They felt social organizations were trying to obstruct their work and govt was giving right to ration s to only owners of private retail stores.Leaders from all sections were invited to supply milk,food and other requirements .

In Bhawanigarh food,dal.and milk was served in the house of BKU(Ugrahan) as well as in Village Cheema in Barnala..Punjab Suudents Union(Shaheed Randhawa has initiated a poster campaign educating the village youth with Naujwan Bharat Sabha and distributed medicines and grains in Khanuir and Leha kalan villagse in Sangrur.

With great persistence Zameen Prapti Sangarsh Commitee is promoting the welfare of villagers .The underprivileged dwellers in five villages in Nabha region on Tuesday protested against the ‘poor distribution’ of ration among them during the lockdown period.Villagers in Kakrala, Dhanouri, Surajpur, Bouran Kalan and Majha, along with the members of zameen prapti sangarsh committee and pendu mazdoor union, came out beating utensils and claimed that they were suffering due to poor supplies of ration. In 32 villages in Sangrur it undertook a patrol operation guarding the areas to ensure the villagers would be supplied necessities.

Protesters claimed that the government was not supplying ration to registered construction workers or MGNREGA workers who receive cash payments. “Are
3,000 sufficient to feed a family in these times,” asked Balwant Singh, a protester.

People from village manavī, district sangrur prepared food for the poor people who are facing hunger in the krona-curfew disaster. 2000 people were served by 'awareness and support committee, Ludhiana'. This Langar for factory workers union was organized by the unemployed workers of the vishwakarma colony (Pearl Nagar) by the unemployed colony (Pearl Nagar) Union of tāzapura road area.

Sadly in Sangrur sellers of milk, vegetables and grocery items resorted to profiteering and thus making the prices beyond the reach of the agricultural labourers. Essential commodities of supplies were still unavailable with only selected houses receiving items.

“We have come here to enquire about the home delivery of essential commodities as we have not received any supply yet. Though a vehicle came in our area on Saturday, but it went back after distributing ration in some selected houses. We request the Punjab government to look into the matter,” said a group of women from Sundar Basti while standing at the main gate of the Sangrur Deputy commissioner on Sunday.

“In our village we have not received any supply yet. On Saturday, our village panchayat distributed some ration, but that was for only few families,” said Balwinder Singh from Jhaloor village of Sangrur.

Jagtar Singh of Tolewal village said on Saturday a vehicle came to supply essential commodities. “But it was not free , as claimed by government. The persons sitting in vehicle were selling the items and we came back as we do not have money,” he said.

“Presently, labourers do not have money to purchase necessary. Since shopkeepers are selling their items on higher rates, they are unwilling to give grocery items to labourers on credit. Things will turn worse, if the government fails to take quick action,” said Mukesh Malaud, president of Zameen Prapati Sangarash Committee.

In village Jharrom in Sangrur Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union researched and highlighted how the dalit villagers became merciless victims of unscrupulous administration. A relief campaign was undertaken .The villagers were literally left cold and hungry by the government with no alternative provided in form of work or grains.

No comments: