Impressive March to the Secretariat in Kolkata

THEY CAME IN their thousands, they came from all parts of the state. The rural poor, urban toilers and industrial workers marched together with students, housewives and other sections of the population under the banner of CPI (M-L) on 22 December to press for their long standing demands. Well-decorated processions accompanied by tableaus were taken out from Howrah and Sealdah stations and they converged at Rani Rashmoni Road in Esplanade. Addressing the mass meeting, State Secretary and Politbureau member Kartick Pal called upon the rallyists and the masses of West Bengal to carry the movement to newer heights. The meeting was also addressed by Party Central Committee member and AICCTU General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee, senior State Committee members Ajit Das, Biman Biswas and Shankar Das. Comrade Partha Ghosh, Central Committee member, presided over the meeting.

The Secretariat March was organised at the head of a continuing campaign highlighting the grievances and demands of the basic masses. Thus on 10 December mass deputations were organised at block offices by members of All India Agrarian Labour Organisation. Nearly 40 such demonstrations were held throughout West Bengal on the same day. And of course the movement will go on. A militant programme of action was declared at meeting including : Sit in demonstration in Esplanade on the demand of removal of health minister on 15 January 2004.
Gherao of North Bengal Development Council on 16 February 2004 to press for the tea plantation workers’ right to a decent life.
Gherao of DM offices and BDO offices in every district on 25 February 2004 on the demand of releasing revised BPL list and issuing cards.

A 24 hour Bengal Bandh in March 2004 if the demands raised in the meeting are not met.

The Demands

o Remove health minister Suryakanta Mishra responsible for collapse of the health system.
o Reopen closed factories and tea estates.
o Release revised BPL list and issue cards without delay.
o Withdraw enhanced electricity tariffs, hospital charges and fees in educational institutions.
o Revoke restrictions on processions and mass meetings.
o Stop imposing fresh taxes through panchayat bodies.
o Enact and enforce comprehensive welfare legislation for agricultural labourers