26 May 2021

Landfall of Cyclone Yaas

We are getting updates about the cyclone Yaas and its impact from our members in various villages and anchals from South 24 and North 24. Heavy rains have led to an increase in the sea level, river dams and embankments have broken in various places. There has been a lot of damage to property as well as agriculture. Various villages are flooded. Many people have shifted to safe places and have been able to prepare for a further crisis - with water entering their villages tonight, due to high tide. People have gathered together, preparing meals and helping each other as much as possible. At the same time, there are also people who are yet to find any shelter.

South 24 Parganas:

In Mousuni, Narayanpur, Namkhana, Fraserganj, Shibrampur, Haripur, Buda Khali areas of Namkhana block, the sea water has reached to a dangerous level due to the effect of the cyclone; The river dams are overflowing and water has entered all the villages. Villagers who had kutcha houses are yet to find any shelter, some villagers have been given shelter in flood centers, villagers are very worried about their families and cattle. 

In Sumati Nagar, Muriganga 2, Gangasagar, Dhabalat Chitpur gram panchayat, of Sagar block,  river dams have broken and water is entering the village. 

In 3 places of Maipith GP of Kultali block, river dams have broken and water has entered the villages. The river dam overflowed and flooded two places. It is feared that water may enter some more places during the night at high tide. The people who have kutcha houses have been moved to places of safety, with necessary arrangements of food.

Water was entering in 2 places in the Bhubaneswari GP, but people could successfully construct makeshift dams to stop it. River dams near Majharkheya, Amtala kheyar have broken down. Villagers fear dams could break and water might enter in   several places. 

In Patharpratima and Achinthyanagar GP, river embankments have broken in two places (Hatishur and Virat Bazar). The conditions are alarming in these places, water might enter the villages at night, during high tide. 

The condition of Brajballavpur GP is very bad and there is a possibility of various river dams breaking in different places. The river embankment has broken and water has entered in Raydighi Bazar. 

The river embankment of Nandakumarpur GP has broken in two places. The Hajragheri river embankment of Raydighi Kumrapara GP has broken and water is flowing through the river embankment of Anwar Doctor, the fifth market of Nagendrapur GP. Drinking water tube wells have been submerged due to the inundation of Raydighi GP Bazar.

Besides, several places in Kankandighi, Nagendrapur and Kumrapara GPs are in critical condition. People are preparing meals in various flood centres, schools and houses. Arrangements for water, medicine and electricity have been made. 

River embankments in Nalgora No. 1 and Nalgora No. 3  in Nalgora GP of Joynagar 2 block have broken and water is entering the fields. Nalgora GP has broken dams in 8 places. There are still 2 hours left for high tide. It has been reported that Kumrapara Robekhaki and Shankar Gheri Chatua have been breached and water is entering the agriculture fields. 

North Kumrapara river embankment broke and many villages are submerged. The entire GP of Kumrapara is flooded. A dam has broken Priormor to Haldar Gheri. Villages have submerged.

Narendrapur, Chatua, Nandakumarpur GP, South 24 Parganas
Narendrapur, Chatua, Nandakumarpur GP, South 24 Parganas

Narendrapur, Chatua, Nandakumarpur GP, South 24 Parganas

North 24 Parganas:

Several villages in Mohanpur and Chapali anchal of Minakhan block have been flooded due to the breaking of river dams.

In Fulbari (Chapali anchal), Balaberia, Dhamakhali, Sandeshkhali people have moved to the flood relief centres and are being provided with food items (গুড় , চীড়া, মুড়ি, বিসকুট)  for the time being.

 In Malancho, Chaital GP (Minakhan block), Bhawanipur, Amlani anchal (Hasnabad block)- river embankments have broken, water has entered the villages. The local leaders are providing rice and dal. Some people have taken shelter in the local schools.

01 May 2021

'May Day' Observance

Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) and Shramajivee Mahila Samity (SMS) observe May Day across 12 districts in West Bengal

'May Day' has always been a special occasion for unarguably the largest independent trade union of marginal farmers, agricultural workers and plantation workers in India. The struggle which began in 1988 with the enforcement of an eight hour work day for agricultural workers in the district of South 24 Parganas continues even today in upholding the constitutional rights of the unorganized sector workers within the farm and non farm sectors of the economy. PBKMS has been at the forefront whether in advocating for implementation of the provisions of MGNREGA, 2005 in its true spirits or for mobilizing plantation workers to struggle for the realization of their pending wages from unscrupulous tea garden owners. The systemic apathy of the state amidst a raging pandemic and rising inequality in the society points towards the relevance of May Day in the present times. The day gives us renewed hope and instills belief in the power of collective strength of the working class to march forward in our demand for an equal world order watering the dreams of a 'classless society'.

With strict adherence to social distancing norms and state government guidelines on gatherings, we have observed the sacred day across our field areas. Calls of 'Workers of the world unite' have reverberated through the morning air challenging the hegemonic grip of the bourgeois class over community resources.    

Senior leadership in Badu Collective, Madhyamgram preparing to hoist our union flag 

SMS leaders posing before indigenous paddy collecting systems in Konkondighi Gram Panchayat, Raidighi block, South 24 Parganas

Youth leaders unfurling the union flag in Uttar Dinajpur 

SMS activists raise their fists during sloganeering in Chapra, Nadia

Members observing a minute of silence in Siborampur, Namkhana, South 24 Parganas

Block leadership commemorating the day in Mathurapur, South 24 Parganas  

Puncha block in Purulia marks the day with a reduced attendance owing to a spike in covid-19 cases in the district

Activists of Belma block in Purulia raise slogans with the red flag of PBKMS flying high    

The following charter of demands has been sent to the political leadership on behalf of our union to ensure the access to necessary means of survival for vulnerable sections during the pandemic and the policy measures required to address the concerns of the working class:
  • Facilitating all economic activities in West Bengal with restrictions only in movement and access to certain enclosed public spaces like stadiums, shopping complexes, restaurants, etc.
  • Immediate formulation of a policy to facilitate the safe return of migrant workers stranded in states where partial or complete lockdown have been announced.
  • Provision of at least 200 days of guaranteed wage employment to each and every willing adult individual in rural areas under MGNREGA, 2005. Immediate roll out of a similar programme in urban areas.
  • Universalization of the Public Distribution System while ensuring a minimum quantity of 14 kilograms of food grains, 1.5 kilograms of pulses and 800 ml of edible vegetable oil per month for each and every individual.
  • Disbursal of a monthly sum of ₹7000 to vulnerable families, at least for six months.
  • Immediate rollback of the four labour codes and the three central farm laws which have the potential to disproportionately affect the interests of the unorganized sector workers and their families