A state-level convention was held in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday, jointly organised by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Himachal Kisan Sabha (HKS), to discuss a planned protest march to Parliament against the Centre's allegedly anti-labour and anti-farmer policies.
State president of CITU Vijendra Mehra and HKS state president Kuldeep Singh Tanwar chaired the convention to discuss the march to Parliament to be held on April 5.
National president of CITU Kashmir Singh Thakur inaugurated the convention.
National leaders of All India Kisan Sabha Pushpendra Tyagi, Prem Gautam, Omkar Shad, Hotam Saunkhala, and Bhupendra Singh also addressed the conference. It was concluded by former MLA Rakesh Singha.
Thakur said, "The government at the Centre is continuously implementing anti-labour and anti-farmer policies. Everything they have started is a campaign to sell the country to their friends and companies. Inflation is increasing continuously, instead of permanent employment, the policy of giving part-time and fixed-term employment is being implemented."
Singha said, "The Modi government at the Centre withdrew the black farm laws after a long agitation by the farmers and had promised to legally guarantee them the minimum support price. But the government has not taken any decision in this regard so far. Due to these anti-farmer policies, the gardeners engaged in the horticulture and the agriculture sector in Himachal Pradesh are going through a huge economic crisis. Four such labour codes have also been made and through their implementation, they are planning to snatch away the rights of labourers which they have achieved after a long struggle. The workers' and farmers' organizations have decided to march to the Parliament House in Delhi on April 5 against these codes."
"Before the march, a mass awakening campaign at the grassroots level is planned under which the workers and the farmers will be informed about our demands and leaflets will be distributed," he added.
Singha emphasised "Our demands comprise the withdrawal of four labour codes and the amended electricity bill. We also demand a minimum salary of Rs 26,000 and a provision for a pension of Rs 10,000 for all workers."
Addressing the loans on farmers, Singha said, "A Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all agricultural products should be implemented while all poor and middle farmers' loans should be waived off. We seek the government to provide pension to all the people above 60 years of age and 200 days of employment in MNREGA with a daily wage of Rs 600."
"Privatization of public sector undertakings and services should be stopped. We demand a halt on rising inflation and exclusion of essential commodities from Goods and Services Tax (GST)."
Singha further added, "There should be a reduction of central excise duty on petrol, diesel, cooking gas and strengthening of the public ration distribution system. All the essential food items should be made available through depots."
"Forest Rights Act should be strictly enforced while the government should ensure the implementation of social justice policies stopping oppression of backward classes."
"The government needs to ensure universal quality health and education for all citizens and withdraw the National Education Policy 2020 while ensuring housing for all. Tax rates on the super-rich and corporate houses should be increased and while it should be reduced for the poor," said Singha as he stated all the demands the convention had agreed on.
The convention agreed that various conferences/conventions will be held at the district and block level till February 10. Door-to-door campaigning will be conducted from February 11 to March 10 in which around one lakh houses will be covered.
On March 15, district and block-level public protests will be held. (ANI)