Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Energizes the Leftists and Communists all over the World

By V. S. Achuthanandan

Chief Minister, Kerala

Published in GANASHAKTI, 21st June, 2008

The left democratic Government in West Bengal is completing 31 years by 21st June. This is an event that energizes the Leftists and Communists all over the world. It was in Kerala that for the first time in history, a Communist party was brought into power through a general election. This was of course an event that generated a new zest among the progressive movements sending a shock to the colonial forces at the same time. Within two years after the Government was sworn in, the furore that accompanied the tabling of the Land reforms Bill and the Education Bill, led to the so-called “liberation struggle” that eventually resulted in the infamous decision of the Central government to dismiss the Communist government. The Central government behaved as if the communists will never emerge in anywhere in India in near future. The single party rule of Congress was at its peak then. While the Communists lost the election that followed, they managed interestingly to increase the percentage of votes they polled. Again in 1967, Governments emerged in Kerala and West Bengal under the leadership of Communist Parties.

In 1977, after the dark era of emergency, a Left Front Government was again brought into power in West Bengal under the leadership of Com. Jyothi Basu. The Congress Government led by Sidharth Sankar Ray that had been in power since 1972 had unleashed a semi fascist regime in Bengal. Starvation and starvation death and similar hardships were the facets of Sidhartha Sankar Ray Government. It was in fact an announcement that the CPI(M) and the left parties will never be allowed to rise again. Also, regime in Bengal during the first half of the seventies was a dress rehearsal of the emergency period.

Then the very first instance after the emergency was properly used by the people of West Bengal to teach Congress a lesson by giving them a hard blow ensuring minimum probability for congress to resume power. The CPI(M) gained a clear parliamentary majority in 1977. The 1980 elections for the Lok Sabha and those at the state level in 1982 have further confirmed CPI(M)’s secure electoral base in West Bengal. The West Bengal Government have improved its status further and is going on. Apart from Kerala and West Bengal, the CPI(M) Government in Tripura has been in power for nearly three decades. It is the alternate policies that these Governments follow in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura that makes them different from the Congress and BJP lead Governments that follow anti-people policies.

It can be observed that the political situation prevailing in Kerala is that there has not been an instance of the Left Government coming into power in successive elections as can be seen in Bengal and Tripura. Here the Left and Right Front Governments come into power alternately. This is the major hurdle that prevents the continuation of the pro people endeavours and comprehensive developmental activities based on alternate policies. In the developmental front, the Left Democratic Government has accomplished in being exemplary to the whole nation. Still it has not been possible to ensure a sustainable fifty percent vote for the Left. We in Kerala are moving ahead with a clear intention to achieve a sustainable Left regime as has been achieved by the West Bengal and Tripura Governments long back.

The existing Government in Kerala has crossed 25 months in power. From the beginning itself the LDF Government has made it clear that the State cannot go ahead without increasing the production in agricultural and industrial sectors. The most essential elements for the sustainable development of the State are the revitalisation of sick industries, starting new industries, solving agricultural crisis and increasing production. It is a matter of pride that we could start at basically in the aforesaid matters.

The Government are giving utmost emphasis on resolving food crisis. Here, it is right mentioning that the Government of West Bengal has helped Kerala by providing rice at a reduced price. Encouraging paddy cultivation by conserving at least the remaining paddy fields is our aim. Approval of the bill preventing reclamation of paddy fields and wetlands is as part of it. A comprehensive programme is in the pipeline to enhance production of food grains and other food materials.

When the Left Democratic Government came into power, the procurement of paddy was nominal. And the rate was only Rs.7 per kg. The LDF government enhanced the rate up to Rs.10 by this year and thus the procurement has been vitalised. As a result, a 30 per cent increase in production at Kuttanad and Palakkad could be achieved.

It is worth mentioning that the various steps taken by the government from its very inception could almost wipe out the suicide tendency of farmers. Three districts of Kerala out of the 36 in the country included in Central Government’s list where severe farmer suicides were reported, have now been exempted from the list. The remaining 33 districts still witness farmer suicide that illustrates the deference between government of Kerala and the rest in India.
Now the Government is striving to hold on the price hike by strengthening public distribution system through Supplyco and Consumerfed. Rice shops have been started with moderate rate. The State Government grants subsidy without any reservation in order to intervene the market.
The Central Government is persecuting the State by cutting down 87 per cent of the APL rice share of Kerala. The State Government are staging strong pressure against this and are taking all measures possible to avoid scarcity of rice.
Phenomenal task has been going on to recover government land from encroachers. In Munnar alone, it recovered twelve thousand acres of land and demolished about hundred unauthorised huge buildings and resorts. In the State as a whole, more than 15,000 acres of land has been recovered.

The legendary event of evacuation of encroachments is an unprecedented one in the history of Kerala. The recovered and other surplus land will be distributed to the landless. Each family should have land, home, electricity and drinking water- is the policy of the Government. EMS Total Housing Scheme has been started for all homeless in the State. Within the next three years, Kerala will become a total housing State. One-acre land for each 1717 adivasi families has been distributed in Aralam farm. Medical Treatment for tribals becomes free of cost.

The Right Front ridiculed the Left Front as anti-developmental during the election time. There existed a circumstance to call us as anti-developmental. The hot protest and agitations against unscrupulous exploitation of land, water and nature ware viewed as anti-developmental. Allegations raised against the Smart City project were important among them. The opposition demanded that the Government might go ahead only without handing over the Infopark, ensuring fair price for the land and rejecting the condition that there should not be any other IT park in Ernakulam. Those statements holding the vast interest of the State, were portrayed as anti-developmental. Then the Smart City became the central slogan of the assembly election.
Now, the Smart City is going to be a reality. Relentless attempt to materialise the project protecting the noble intentions of the State has been undertaken. Thus great modifications in favour of the State could be made in the stands of TECOM. A quantum jump in the field of IT sector could be achieved within the past one and a half year. For establishing Techno City, 507 acres of land is acquiring in Thiruvananthapuram. Technopark sees a development where another 100 acres of land is being acquired. Steps have been taken to establish IT parks at various districts. Many IT companies have already started new ventures in Technopark and Infopark. The target is the creation of two lakh job opportunities in the IT sector. However, the present position reveals that the employment opportunities will be many fold. 40,000 more job opportunities will be generated within next three years at Infopark, the very institution that was decided to handover free of cost by the previous government. Projects are being implemented to make the State totally computer literate. The plan, Akshaya Kendras in every village is advancing.

All welfare pensions have been hiked upto Rs.200 at a stretch and the arrears are disbursed. Hundreds of thousands of labourers have been brought under Welfare Funds including about two lakh small scale plantation workers.

The Shops and Establishments Labourer Welfare Fund Law gives solace to one million families in the unorganised sector. This law ensures job security, pension, family pension, leave, delivery leave et. al. Likewise a law which fixes pension and welfare fund for tens of thousands of dairy farmers has also been implemented.

Preliminary works have already started for metro rail in Kochi. Primary steps for suburban train services in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode have been taken. The waterway development project between the tail ends of Kerala has been triggered off. Kollam – Kottappuram waterway, a part of the National Waterway – 3 has been commissioned and the work for Kottappuram-Neeleswaram waterway is going on. Works for Kollam- Kovalam water way project has also launched. The LNG terminal at Kochi, which was in seesaw, has been got out from all obstacles owing to the relentless effort of the state government.

The State Government could reciprocate strongly against the negligence of the Centre and could fetch a large number of projects, which were entitled to us. Progress could be achieved in bringing issues of Kerala to the notice of the Centre better than earlier. Strong protest has been registered against the formation of Salem Railway Division by dividing Palakkad Division. Thus the Railway Ministry was forced to enlarge the boundary of the Palakkad division from their earlier decision.

This protest opens up a way for getting a coach factory. Since the railway reached Kerala one and half century ago, no important employment generating institution has been launched here. A coach factory assigned for Kerala a quarter century back had been shifted to Kapurthala in Punjab in the eleventh hour. Now, when we extended great pressure in the case of Salem Division issue, Central Government have agreed to set up a coach factory in Kerala to pacify us. It has already been decided that a modern railway coach factory to be set up with an investment of around four thousand crore rupees at Kanchikkode in Palakkad. For the past fifty years, no such huge Central investment has come in Kerala in the public sector. State Government have initiated primary steps for acquiring land needed for the coach factory.

Rejuvenation and enthusiasm regained in Industries sector. The government could reopen almost all the closed industries. Lock out was common in the past when an industry exhausted with loss. Now the number of profiteering public sector industry is raised to twenty seven from the mere twelve. Many new industries have been started.

New projects came in tourism sector. Kerala becomes one of the most important tourism destinations of the world. Endeavour for generating additional 500 mega watt power within three years started. Special attention has been given to utilise non-traditional energy sources and wind energy project commissioned at Idukki.

The corruption free and prosperous Kerala that is rushing towards a comprehensive development -the LDF governance of 24 months could make a giant leap in the journey towards this. The background is set for a comprehensive development. The Government could dispel disappointment from all walks of life and could rejuvenate it. Now onwards it is the time of progress.

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