01 May 2022

PBKMS and SMS commemorate International Workers' Day

We renewed our pledges on May Day to extend our complete solidarity with the global struggle of the working class

Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) and Sharamajivee Mahila Samity (SMS) marked 1st May, 2022 with rallies, marches, hoisting of our flag, enthusiastic sloganeering and exchange of revolutionary greetings. Field areas across 14 districts of West Bengal commemorated the historic day which witnessed enthusiastic participation from our members. Anchal, block and district committees mobilized members and our sympathizers for the events marking the day. A note on the history of the struggle of the working class and the relevance of the day in today's socio-political environment was circulated and read out in our street corner gatherings.

Comrades at our local centre in Kulpi, South 24 Parganas

Comrades in a show of strength after a short march in Minakhan, North 24 Parganas
Comrades observing a minute of silence in memory of the martyrs of working-class movements across the globe in Datan, West Midnapore 

Flag hoisting at Raidighi, South 24 Parganas

Comrades preparing for a march in Chhatna, Bankura

A discussion session on contemporary labour issues organized by the district committee in North Dinajpur 

Comrades hoisting the flag at an NREGA work site in Manbazar, Purulia

Comrades marching in Hura, Purulia

Plantation workers of Paschim Banga Cha Mazdoor Samity preparing for hoisting the flag of the union in Gangutia tea garden, Jalpaiguri

28 March 2022

PBKMS and SMS take to the streets to enforce the two day ‘Bharat Bandh’

Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) and Shramajivee Mahila Samity (SMS) have been at the forefront in campaigning against the ‘anti-people' farm legislation brought in by the current political dispensation at the centre. The scant regard for the opposing views on the provisions of the legislation has led to their ratification without proper debates and discussions in both houses of the parliament. In addition to the demand for unconditional rollback of the three farm laws, the farming community had also placed certain demands before the central government before agreeing to call off the protests. The central government has not only been non-responsive but has also been insensitive to the point of obscenity when it went silent on even asking for the resignation of parliamentarian and minister of state Ajay Mishra Teni, who has been accused of targeted killings of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh.

We are observing the 'two-day' nationwide strike called by central trade unions and farmer organizations to highlight the anti-working class policies of the central government and their reluctance to address the concerns of the farming community.

  PBKMS activists marching towards the SDPO office on Monday in Basirhat sub-division, North 24 Parganas

PBKMS activists blocking one of the main thoroughfares in Hura block, Purulia

A joint demonstration in Hasnabad block, North 24 Parganas


Members marching in a rally in Raidighi, South 24 Parganas

On every call given by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and farmers’ associations, we have expressed our solidarity with the cause and planned as well as executed campaigns along with other civil society organizations across West Bengal.

25 March 2022

Submission of Deputation at Kultali, South 24 Parganas

PBKMS highlights persisting local issues in a deputation handed over to the Kultali BDO

On 24th March, 2022 members of PBKMS (Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity) led by senior activist Com. Kanai Halder met Shri Birendra Nath Adhikari, the BDO (Block Development Officer) of Kultali block in the district of South 24 Parganas. The block unit highlighted numerous concerns through the submission of a deputation which led to an intense discussion with the BDO to seek long term solutions.

Members of PBKMS after meeting the Kultali BDO
Issues experienced in the implementation of legislation(s) and welfare scheme(s) like Public Distribution System, MGNREGA, Mid Day Meal, Mission Nirmal Bangla, Social Assistance Programmes, PM Awas Yojana, etc. were presented in detail. Inadequacies in public health infrastructure were also taken up for discussion.  

The BDO and other officials assured us that some of our long-standing demands like the provision of new job cards for family members who have started living separately, sanctioning more tube wells in the densely populated areas, easy and quick disbursal of social assistance pensions and immediate strengthening of embankments in low lying areas will be looked into. The officials have also requested us to assist them in conducting a camp for enabling differently-abled persons to submit the documents required to access social assistance benefits. Repair and strengthening of vulnerable embankments have been promised to be taken up shortly by the block administration. Future plans of the administration to reach households with piped drinking water have also been shared.   

We have conveyed our experience in successfully implementing a kitchen harden programme in the district and have expressed our willingness to help the block administration in developing kitchen or nutrition gardens in community spaces. The BDO has sought our assistance in ensuring that mangrove habitats are protected and to help the administration in curbing child marriages in the block. Regular disbursement of entitlements guaranteed under the Mid Day Meal programme has also been assured. 

02 February 2022

Observance of 16th NREGA Diwas

PBKMS and SMS observe the 16th NREGA Diwas across West Bengal  

Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) and Shramajivee Mahila Samity (SMS) marked the 16th anniversary of the implementation of the public works programme which came into force on 2nd February 2006. The day reminds us of the long struggle undertaken by the working class to successfully demand a guarantee from the state in accessing wage-based employment. Despite having clear provisions in the Directive Principles of State Policy and forming an important component of the 'right to life with dignity' guaranteed by the constitution, it took more than 50 long years for the political leadership to recognize the same. Though all the demands we raised during our decade long non-violent struggle to uphold the 'right to work' are yet to be met, the day is still marked with reverence by people's organizations for successfully convincing the then union government to roll out a public works programme. The global pandemic and the vulnerabilities of the migrant population in the urban spaces have highlighted the importance of this programme which has been a lifesaver for the rural communities.                                    

We are also witnessing an unenthusiastic implementation of the programme, which is unarguably one of the most impactful rights-based legislation(s) in post-Independent India. Job cardholders are being denied work, wages are getting inordinately delayed, corrupt practices creeping in without access to proper grievance redressal mechanisms, etc. The union budget of 2022-23 has also been disappointing with respect to the allocation for the public works programme, with the budgetary provisions failing to respond to the demand for work generated by rural households.      

On this day, we met the officials of the panchayat, block and district administrations across West Bengal and submitted a demand charter listing out our immediate concerns on the implementation of the programme. 
          One of our activists with the receipted copy of the demand charter after submitting it to the office of the Block Development Officer in Shantipur, Nadia

The following demands have been placed before the Central and State Governments:
1. 200 days of guaranteed wage employment for each and every individual in the rural areas.
2. Fixation of minimum daily wage at ₹600 in line with the recommendations of the 7th pay commission.

3. Disbursal of wages should be according to the laid down provisions of the law, which guarantees payment of wages within a fortnight of the completion of work.

4. No worker should not be paid less than the stipulated wages under any pretext.

5. Unemployment benefits should be disbursed in the manner stated in the law on not being provided work within a fortnight of submitting work demand applications.

6. In accordance with the provisions of the law, drinking water, shed and creche facility for children accompanying their mothers to the work sites should be made available.
7. Alternatives to earthwork should be made available, especially for women.

8. Every eligible applicant should be provided with a job card and no job card should be cancelled arbitrarily.

9. Appropriate measures should be taken to prevent sexual harassment of women at work sites.         

Deputations and demand charters have been submitted across 12 districts in West Bengal with the senior activists taking a lead role in engaging with the bureaucracy and the political leadership.