24 November 2014

PBKMS: Ninth State Conference

The Ninth State Conference of Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity(PBKMS) will be held on November 23 and 24.

The Samity’s conference is taking place at a time when the situation of agricultural workers is becoming increasingly precarious.  Giving the pretext of economic reforms and development, all Governments in the state and at the centre have over the past three decades supported and pampered the corporate sector. This has led to the frightening situation of increasing pauperisation and landlessness in agriculture, with no alternative employment as jobless growth characterises the manufacturing sector. Agriculture is in a crisis with farmer suicides and distress migration.

To make matters worse, the few facilities that the Government has been willing to give in the past are now in the process of being withdrawn. The very limited 100 days work programme, fruit of a hard struggle for 18 years by PBKMS and other such workers’ organisations, is to be diluted even further. There is no sign of implementation of the National Food Security Act, which despite its imperfections would have provided some relief to agricultural workers.

In addition, various anti-labour measures are being adopted by both the State and Central Governments. Long standing and well accepted labour laws are being diluted; the right to strike is frowned upon; protests and organising by workers meets with attacks; it is becoming increasingly difficult to register trade unions etc.

A general climate of intolerance by the ruling party towards protest prevails in the state. To add to this worsening situation is the fear that political parties for narrow ends will rake up communal feelings.

During the conference, about 350-400 delegates of the PBKMS will spend two days looking at this alarming situation. They will also review their successes and failures in the past three years and will decide on their future strategies and programme.

The Ninth Conference will be held on November 23 and on the morning of November 24 at Maheswarpur Village PO Badu, Kolkata 700128.

The open session of the Ninth Conference will be held at Bharat Sabha Hall, Bow Bazar Street Kolkata from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. on November 24.

In keeping with the support and solidarity that you have always provided to the struggles of agricultural workers, you are requested to join us for the open session. Your presence will encourage us tremendously.

In solidarity
Swapan Ganguly, General Secretary

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