A SELF proclaimed environmental activist lives in Kolkata. Filing legal cases is one of his very basic characteristics. But one can't blame him for filing cases on all matters. He is a bit choosy in this regard. He does not bother even if large number of trees are cut in the western forestry. But his instincts are sharp only in two particular cases. One is anything related to the Left Front government of the state and the other anything related to the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
This man went to the court against the celebrated Kolkata Book Fair. The Book Fair had to be shifted from its original birthplace, Kolkata maidan to the Milan Mela Complex, in Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. The self-styled "environmentalist" had complained of dust pollution! This new area is not free from dust. In fact there were miniature dust storms in that area. But it seems the dust in this area is not at all polluted!! Naturally, the big media is overwhelmed with the shift of venue. Who says that people don't come to the Fair in large numbers? The conditions of the common man have been horrible. How many people have own personal vehicles? A few, too few to deserve mention! Maidan was at the heart of the city and naturally had a very well knitted structure of transportation which included Metro Rail, Circular Rail, Bus and Tram Terminals. Maidan was a place that was also very well connected with Howrah, Kolkata's twin city through Vidyasagar and Rabindra Setu and even by the ferry system across the Hooghly River. For the Milan Mela Prangan, the government had to arrange a large number of buses involving extra expenditure. But it does not bother that self proclaimed environment activist. His goal has been fulfilled!
One may wonder how this gentleman man moves around. Does he move around on foot or in some pollution-free vehicle? There is an apt proverb which teaches us that charity must begin at home. Has this gentleman ever heard of this proverb? He not only strongly disapproves of rallies at Brigade Parade Ground but is not ready to allow anybody to walk or sit even on grass. The war against pollution must go on!!! So to fulfill his desires nobody must come for morning walk in the maidan. Children must not come to play. Nobody must come for evening stroll. That's precisely the desire of the selfish giant. Is the Kolkata Maidan the private ground of any selfish giant?
The entire problem lies with the CPI(M) rallies. This particular man and few others can tolerate everything except the CPI(M). The huge Brigade rallies organised by the CPI(M) or the Left Front are his eye sore. Are rallies not held in the Ram Lila Maidan of Delhi?
Unfortunately the fact remains that apart from the Brigade ground there is no other place in Kolkata where such a large number of people can assemble. Since a Left rally invariably draws about half a million people, Brigade ground is the only place to accommodate. Meetings, rallies, marches are integral part of a democratic environment. They are manifestations of the exercise of democracy. Protection of democratic rights and its further nourishment and expansion is a continuous process. Inadequate exercise of democracy paves the way for fascist forces to creep in. The strengthening of the hands of fascism is definitely a form of pollution.
For making rallies successful in Brigade ground, lakhs of people have to be organised. A Brigade march is a result of massive organisational networking among the people. Apart from CPI(M), Kisan Sabha, DYFI, the other political forces in the state do not have the organisational strength to convene a Brigade rally. Some boast of organising rallies there but ultimately end up in a fiasco. The paltry rostrum at one nook facing the Jawaharlal Nehru Road unsuccessfully tries to hide the thinness of the gathering! A few thousand of people serve their purpose.
Leader of one opposition party has said that they do not organise meetings at Brigade. Does anybody remember the tale where someone said that the grapes were sour?
The Left Front government has got the permission of setting up a petrochemical hub at Nayachar. And immediate notes of opposition are in the air from none other than Trinamul Congress. The pretext for opposition this time is pollution. Pollution of environment cannot be tolerated by TMC. So Bengal can't have a chemical hub! They are also saying that the livelihood of 6 lakh fishermen will be in ruins with the hub. So ‘No to Nayachar’ is their new slogan!! It is not at all necessary to go into any debate about the total number of fishermen in East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas.
There is also another footnote. Nayachar will destroy mangrove forestry. So ‘No to Nayachar’ The people putting up this demand have a very imperfect knowledge of environmental issues, limited to mere terms like mangrove forestry. There is a famous proverb: empty vessels make much noise. In the legends it is said that young Kalidasa (the famous poet) was such a blockhead that he was told not to open his mouth when he went to the court to marry the princess. But he disobeyed his mentors and blundered. These men are no better. For their information, famous environment scientist and former vice chancellor Ananda Deb Mukhopadhyay has categorically stated that there is a mangrove forest in the northern part of Nayachar. Its total area is merely two and a half square kilometers. In the eastern and western part there are forest areas which will continue to remain. There is no possibility of their destruction. These are protected areas and will remain so. That has been precisely planned already.
Why will the livelihood of the fishermen be under threat? Oil refinery in Haldia was established forty years ago. It is running in a fine fashion. There has been no problem. Has the water been polluted? Do the fishermen there face any sort of problems? What is happening in Mangalore? A petrochemical refinery is very much there. The wastes are purified first and then discharged into the sea.
Midstream and downstream industries will be set up at Nayachar. The effluents will first be purified in these industries. Then they will be discharged at a distance of 700-800 kilometres away, without affecting the aquatic habitat in any manner.
The groundwater will also be safe. Fresh groundwater deposits are located 240-295 metres below the ground level at Nayachar. Freshwater is pumped up to the limit of 270 metres. The industrial waste from Nayachar will be dumped at a depth of more than 295 metres. So there is absolutely no reason to worry at all.
Do the people who are blindly criticising and opposing the project have a minimum idea about how, with every passing day, technological advances are improving even further? Many of them are completely unaware of the fact that the waste of midstream and downstream industries are totally purified. They are still opposing! Opposition for opposition's sake!! They have a single-point agenda. Let's stop Nayachar like Nandigram. We won't let any industry to be set up in Bengal. Let's start walking backwards!!!
Let's chant in unison:
My heart is aching
My hands are shaking
I can't stay at home!
The new project at Nayachar
Ticks like time bomb!
ULTRAS OF THE
The SFI has won the Presidency College Students Union elections bagging 38 seats. This college is a premier academic institution and its students are considered to be the advanced students of the state. As a former state president of the organisation, it is indeed a matter of great pleasure for me. A media person asked me that earlier SFI happened to be very powerful in that college when daughters of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Anil Biswas studied there. Is the phenomenon again repeating itself as the children of some leaders are again studying there? I had a very clear cut answer for them. It is a matter of pride for us that our children are working as SFI activists. But it is to be always kept in mind that 72 SFI comrades had contested the union polls. If I assume that at the minimum four SFI comrades had worked for each candidate, then the number of SFI comrades participating in the union elections amounts to a minimum of 360. The effort of so many comrades cannot be undermined.
The victory run of SFI is not only restricted at Presidency alone. Everywhere throughout the state victories are being registered. Till February 13, 2009 elections to 327 college and university students unions have been organised. The SFI emerged victorious in 267 unions. Two other Left student organisations have won two unions. The opposition put together has bagged 58 unions.
What has been the result of student’s union polls in those districts where the Left Front suffered a setback in the panchayat elections? Till date, SFI has won 14 out of 19 unions in East Midnapore, 16 out of 23 (one Left student organisation) in South 24 Parganas and five out of five in Malda. One very interesting fact has to be remembered. The entire anti-Left student organisations joined hands together against SFI irrespective of their political colour and so called ideology. Ultra Left, Ultra Right, Ultra Hindu, Ultra Muslims are now all together in the same boat. All Ultras of the world unite!! But who can stop the march of the vibrant youth?
WILL NOT STOP
CPI(M) leader in Singur, Suhrid Dutta, has got bail at last. His bail petition was sanctioned by the Kolkata High Court. The reason for such a long delay will definitely be known later. There is no doubt that a huge conspiracy was hatched. There was an indication at that very moment when the case was snatched from CID and handed over to CBI. The past record of the CBI has not been clean enough to make it a completely reliable body. If the CID is under the control of the state government, the CBI is also under the control of the central government. And in the Indian context, a government represents a political party or a political alliance. The past record of the CBI is littered with charges of callousness, inefficiency and partiality. One example is the case of stealing of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize souvenir. Till date it has not been recovered nor have the miscreants been caught. In West Bengal, one CBI officer by the name of Sahay was arrested. Recently the Supreme Court has pulled up the CBI in the case of disproportionate assets of Mulayam Singh Yadav. The thrashing was not of a very sweet kind.
Recently the investigating CBI officer Partha Sarathi Bose was arrested on the charge of taking bribe. We, the CPI(M) MP's, had met the prime minister and submitted a memorandum demanding an enquiry against this particular officer. We want to know how much bribe this officer took and from whom for falsely implicating Suhrid Dutta in Tapasi Malik murder case? How much money did he take for guarding the real culprits? In the suicide note of Rizwanur Rehman, the name of Javed Khan was very much there. How much money was taken for guarding and saving him? Who has been the Sarathi (charioteer) of this Partha? Let the entire list come up.
We are of the belief that truth shall prevail, come what may. Rabindranath Tagore wrote about a century back:
The truth does not die
Even if it goes to oblivion for centuries
Truth can be ignored but not killed
No insult can sway its stand
No strike can displace it
We will continue our forward march on the path of truth. The attacks on us will be fiercer day by day. In the last few months in the Jharkhand bordering areas of our state we have lost 36 of our comrades. Our Party district secretary of CoochBehar has faced fierce attacks. There has even been an attempt on the life of our chief minister. Mass mobilisation is under way in the farms, factories, schools, colleges, offices, courts, everywhere for waging a protracted resistance against these blood-thirsty, gruesome monsters.