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PUCL Bulletin, Nov. 2000

Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha

Memorandum to the President of India

The toiling people of Chhattisgarh present before you the demands of various sections
of Chhattisgarhi people.:

1 That public capital in the form of bad debt (NPA) to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees looted by Indian and foreign capitalists be recovered and Torture and threats of attachment of property of poor peasants in the name of recovery of loans be immediately stopped and their loans be written off

2. Unpaid electricity bills and outright theft of electricity to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees by industrialists are recovered and the practice of writing off such bills be stopped. and Recovery of the above burden from peasants and ordinary citizens be stopped. The policy of bifurcation and privatization of electricity board and steep hike in electricity bills be stopped.

3. Poor peasants of Jamin-Satyagrah be provided land & land deeds.

4. The thousands of workers of Bhilai, Urla, Kumhari, Tedesera industrial belt, who have been waging democratic struggle in starvation conditions for the past ten years be provided work/ payment of wages as per the court's order. Bring an end to illegal contractual workers system.

5. Retrenchment of 42, 000 daily wageworkers in Madhya Pradesh be stopped. Workers of HSCL are paid there pending wages.

6. The economic, political and cultural system based on liquor and betting be ended and be replaced by the system respecting productive labour.

7. Mindless mechanization is hated and the youth be provided with jobs.

8. Protect the rupee from the aggression of dollar.

Today one barrel of crude oil costs our country about Rs. 900/-, whereas in terms of purchasing power parity value of dollar inquiry team would cost only about Rs. 60/-. Like-wise, each installment of foreign debt paid by us is costing us 15 times dear.

Policies based on the cravings of dollar hungry sections are bleeding our economy white. These must be reversed to save our industry and agriculture.

9. On preferential basis, the small industries of Chhattisgarh be provided 'job's' from Public Sector establishments in Chhattisgarh and the dominance of outside and big industry be checked.

Your Excellency, prior to this, a delegation of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha had met the then President Shri R. Venkatraman on September 12, 1991. That day our leader Martyr Shankar Guha Neogi had brought to the notice of this office that the nouveau - riche industrialists of Bhilai with their private armies of goons were a serious threat to life and livelihood of Chhattisgarhi people.

Exactly on the 16th day of his meeting with the then president, on 28th Septe3mber 1991, the same industrialists killed Martyr Shankar Guha Neogi.

Democratic aspirations of Chhattisgarh workers and peasants have refused to die. Through our continuing Chhattisgarh Nyayagraha agitation people have presented the rarest examples of patience.

Today the people pf Chhattisgarh are struggling for their identity. The vision of new Chhattisgarh that they have is not that of creation of one more chair of Chief Minister or a dozen chairs of Ministers and so on, but the vision of solution to the livelihood questions of its over two crore people and protection and progress of its agriculture and industry.

We are presenting you this memorandum in the hope that your voice of reason will resonate with our aspirations.

We are, yours sincerely,
The workers and Peasants of Chhattisgarh

II

Press Release

President assures Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha leaders that he will take up the grievances of Chhattisgarhi peasants and workers

In the course of his 40 minute long discussion with the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha delegation led by its president and tribal leader Com. Janaklal Thakur, the President attended sympathetically and seriously to the pressing livelihood questions of the Chhattisgarh peasants and workers, and the issues of protection and progress of the industry and agriculture of Chhattisgarh in the era of a "unipolar world" led by monopoly capital.
The president assured the leaders that he would take up with the State Government, the issue of 4200 workers in the Bhilai-Raipur industrial belt who have been carrying on a democratic struggle for the past ten years in the face of tremendous repression. These workers have been denied work/ payment of wages despite orders of the Industrial Court in their favour.

The president also assured that he would take up with the Central Government the case of the appeal filed by the CBI in the Shaheed Niyogi Murder Case presently pending hearing in the Supreme Court. Inquiry team may be recalled that the Drug Sessions Court had convicted two industrialists to life imprisonment and a hired assassin to death sentence in this case. The appeal filed one and a half years ago - agitates against the High Court order acquitting all the accused.

The President also assured that he would take up with the Central Government the case of the appeal filed by the CBI in the Shaheed Niyogi Murder Case presently pending hearing in the Supreme Court. It may be recalled that the drug Sessions Court had convicted two industrialists to life imprisonment and a hired assassin to death sent4ence in this case. The appeal - filed one and a half years ago - agitates against the High Court order acquitting all the accused.

The President also expressed concern when the Morcha leaders appraised him of the discriminatory attitude of the administration towards the peasants who are tortured and harassed in the name of recovery of petty loans whereas, no effort is made to recover the bad debts (NPA) of noveau-riche industrialists of Chhattisgarh region running to thousands of corers.

Around five hundred peasants and workers representatives' of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, about half of them women, who had come to Delhi with their leaders took out a procession from New Delhi Railway Station through Connaught Circus, which culminated in a Dharna at the Jantar Mantar. These representatives voiced the demands of various sections of the Chhattisgarhi people including the provision of land and land deeds to peasants of the Jamin-Satyagrah, halting of mindless mechanization, reinstatement of 42,000 retrenched daily wage workers, ending of the economic, political and cultural system based on liquor and speculation, and allotment of "jobs" to the small industries of Chhattisgarh.

The speakers expressed their resolve to fight the WTO - imposed policies of dalal politicians of the BJP and Congress, and to create "a new Chhattisgarh for a new India". The next step in this movement shall be the intensification of civil disobedience against "kurki" of peasants, and the demand for recovery of outstanding dues of noveau - riche industries like - 37 crores 26 lakhs of bad debt from Hari Khetawat (Bhilai Wires Ltd.), 65 crores from Nemichand Shri Shrimal (KN Oil Mill), 140 crores manipulated in balance sheets by Kailashpati Kedia (Kedia Castle Dellon), 225 crores arrears of income tax of hawala BR Jain (Bhilai Engineering Corporation), and 34 crores of outstanding electricity bill of Ambuja's Cement factory at Baloda - Bazar.

They also expressed their solidarity with the basti dwellers fighting eviction; students agitating against fee hike, protesting lawyers, construction workers and other toiling citizens of Delhi.

Com. A. K. Roy of the Marxist Co-ordination Committee, Dhanbad (Jharkhand), Com. Shamsher Singh Bisht of the Uttarakhand Sangharsh Vahini, activists of the Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam, People's Union for Democratic Rights, JNU. Teachers Association, Saheli, Lokayan etc. and others expressed their solidarity at the site of the Dharna.

25.7.2000
(Anoop Singh)
Secretary, Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha

 

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