Thursday, May 04, 2006

Party waves the sickle, cuts off cash crops from Kerala farmers

Communists have started harassing farmers in Kerala.

Party waves the sickle, cuts off cash crops from Kerala farmers


The Party can change the profile of a beedi cooperative and get it to make pickles but the farmer cannot change his crop to make profit. If a Kerala farmer quits growing paddy and grows another crop on the same farmland, he will have CPI(M) comrades landing with sickles and axes to ‘restore’ the farm for paddy.

No matter if growing paddy is just not profitable, no matter if you have stiff farm loans to pay back.

Last week in Palakkad, the comrades, chanting slogans invoking hardliner V S Achuthanandan, descended to destroy arecanut and other crops in many farms. About a dozen of them have been booked for it.

The sickles and axes have been coming down on many parts of Kerala’s ruralscape as a strong ‘corrective’ political statement, right from the ’90s. They continue to swing.

The late A Kanaran MLA, top honcho of the CPI(M)’s Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU), had effectively used it to get local Muslim landlords in north Kerala’s Nadapuram belt to fall in line, his men laying waste acres of their standing cash crops overnight.

In Alappuzha, Kanaran’s hardline guru and Politburo member Achthanandan unleashed his men on paddy farms whose owners—many of them marginal farmers—had to switch to other crops. It finally took a high court order to get the cops to halt the destruction, at least temporarily.

The basic CPI(M) line is that losing paddy to less labour-intensive cash crops means more rural unemployment, particularly hitting farm labour, traditional Red reservoir. It also wants to hold up the ecology-environment threats from depleting farmlands. The area under paddy in Kerala has dwindled from 8 lakh hectares a few years ago to 3 lakh now.

The flip side, however, is that with highly trade-unionised wages shooting up and input costs rising, paddy is hardly attractive anymore. A big chunk of farmers who had killed themselves in despair in the last two years in Kerala were paddy growers.

A few days back, Achuthanandan was quoted saying that chopping down crops on reclaimed paddy fields was ‘‘party policy,’’ but denies it. The powerful reformist section of the CPI(M), openly gunning for him, denounced it. Achuthanandan now says the party will continue its ‘‘peaceful’’ agitation in every Kerala panchayat, and will not allow any more fields to be lost to paddy, ‘‘at any cost.’’ ‘‘I’d never asked our comrades to destroy any kind of crops, only to oppose paddy field reclamation. But our young men get excited and naughty sometimes,’’ Achuthanandan told The Indian Express.

‘‘The party condemns any act of destroying crops. This has been communicated to the ranks,’’ claims M A Baby, CPI(M) central committee member.


Party waves the sickle, cuts off cash crops from Kerala farmers
(The Indian Express, Monday July 4 2006, via Yahoo News)

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2 Comments:

At 2:56 AM, Blogger Brijo Bhushon KarGupta said...

Dear PATRIOT,

I am a like-minded person from Kolkata, and would like to contribute to your good site. My contributuions will be from The Statesman's news articles. Please tell me how to do this.

Waiting for your help, and with best regards,

Yours brotherly,

Brijo Bhushon KarGupta (Kolkata)

 
At 2:56 AM, Blogger Brijo Bhushon KarGupta said...

Dear PATRIOT,

I am a like-minded person from Kolkata, and would like to contribute to your good site. My contributuions will be from The Statesman's news articles. Please tell me how to do this.

Waiting for your help, and with best regards,

Yours brotherly,

Brijo Bhushon KarGupta (Kolkata)

 

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