The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Seal on industry stress

Calcutta, Oct. 15: Citu, the CPM’s labour arm, and the Krishak Sabha, the peasant wing of the party, today endorsed the government’s industrialisation policy.

Leaders of the two organisations asked their members to work together in rural and semi-urban areas in keeping with the stirrings of the transition from a predominantly agriculture-based society to an industrial one.

“The main reason behind the weakness of the state’s economy is over-dependence on agriculture. We have to increase the production of foodgrain. But industrialisation will generate jobs both for rural and urban youth,” Citu’s state president Shyamal Chakraborty told a rally at the Netaji Indoor stadium.

“It’s not agriculture but industry that can provide jobs for a whole year. So rural development depends on the growth of industry,’’ Sabha leader Benoy Konar said.

The leaders referred to the growing shift from agriculture to non-farm occupations. “Educated children of agricultural workers do not want to take up the vocation of their fathers but prefer non-farm jobs,’’ Konar said.

“Farmers are selling their land and turning to other livelihoods. In Singur, 572 land-sale deeds were recorded in the last one year even before the government considered acquisition of land for Tata Motors,’’ Chakraborty said.

According to him, Bengal has 2.13 crore unorganised workers, including 73 lakh agricultural workers, spread over 38,500 villages. “Citu will reach out to villages together with the Sabha to organise these new workers,’’ Konar said.

Land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah, also Sabha vice-president, attended the rally. Mollah is known for his opposition to acquisition of farmland for industry.

The CPM has already taken note of some erosion in its support base among rural and urban poor during the last Assembly polls. Today’s rally was organised to bring together unorganised labourers, particularly in view of the increasing number of non-farm workers in rural Bengal.

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