The Himachal Pradesh CPM has termed the last nine months of the Congress rule in the state weak and accused it for weakening the “Political Authority” of the Government. This weakening of the political authority has resulted in the labour and the police departments adopting autonomous stature. There are other departments, who are giving signs of following the same path, the HPMC happens to be one of them. A common feature in all those delinking themselves from the political authority of the state is their strategy to serve the interest of the corporate and big capital at the cost of the workers and the farmers.
In a press communiqué, the CPM veteran leader Rakesh Singha has said that it’s not clear, whether this new strategy adopted has the approval of Chief Ministers Office or not. However, the young labour commissioner claims to have sought political clearance to change the nature of the labour department in favour of capital viz a viz the labour. It is not surprising under the new strategy of running the department, even for the registration of a union of the workers, which happen to be constitutional right covered under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, first the approval of the CEO of the establishment concerned is required otherwise the trade union of the workers will not be registered under one pretext or the other.
Singha said that the labour commissioner as per her Constitutional responsibility needs to explain her conduct as to why even after the lapse of six months the workers union of JP Cement Plant at Bagga has not been registered inspite of 900 workers having paraded themselves before the labour commissioner office along with their identity cards on 17th September 2013 for their physical verification. The management of JP Cement has threatened the leadership of the workers to terminate their services in case they press upon the registration of the workmen union. 1500 workers have been engaged by the JP Cements, Bagga who are working under semi bondage conditions and the labour commissioner has taken an oath to serve the interest of the company. An industrial dispute exists because of the prevailing service condition and violation of labour laws, which the police department is very keen to resolve. These conditions are similar to those that existed in Europe in the 16th century.
The CPM leader has alleged that the labour commissioner has assumed super powers and does not hesitate to challange the authority of the High Court. Under the provisions of the Legal Service Authorities Act 1987, the state legal authority directed the Kullu District Legal Service Authority to visit the various industrial establishments in the month of December. It was revealed on 11th December by the Lok Adalat conducted by the legal aid camp of blatant violations of labour laws by the famous “Catch” factory manufacturing soda and mineral water at Riason. The labour officer Kullu was directed to insure the implementation of the various laws but till date the violations continue and those workmen who attempted to champion the cause of the workmen have been transferred to Noida and the labour commissioner is refusing to register the union of the workers though eight months have lapsed.
CPM leader also targeted state government over the HPMC functioning and alleged that the top management of the HPMC has forgotten the purpose with which the HPMC was established. Rakesh Singha said that one of the reasons for the slump in the apple price has been the change in the direction of the HPMC to serve the interest of the corporate instead of the small and marginal farmers. Whenever the commission agents manipulated prices by bringing down the rates in the past, the apple growers made use of the cold stores of the HPMC for temporary storage. However, now in the apple growing areas of Kotkhai and Kotgarh the HPMC has chosen to outsource the CA stores to a corporate house Gem Tree. This outsourcing has been done for the next five years, of both the CA stores at Gumma and Jarol Tikkar.
He further stated to launch a campaign where by 25 percent CA chambers of Adani group in Bithal, Sainj and Rohroo and that of the Dev Bhumi at Matiana be given to the farmers for the store of their produce and an option be provided to the farmers to take back the B class fruit which is purchased by them for a meager price of Rs. 9/- to Rs. 14/- per KG.
The CPM alleged that the government is transferring the entire burden on to the people who are already heavily burdened by ever increasing inflation. CPM said that under the new food security Act the quantum of ration is being reduced along with the coverage of families, the price of sugar has been enhanced to Rs. 20.50/- per KG that from Rs. 13.50 and that of mustard oil to Rs. 60/- per liter from Rs/- 50/-. There is serious problem the consumers are facing for the Direct Cash Transfers (DCT) and inspite of the Supreme Court directions to delink it with the Aadhar Card, the authorities are insisting of having a Aadhar Card to receive the DCT.
CPM veteran leader Rakesh Singha also slammed state government decision of hike in the bus fare and termed it draconian. Singha said that fare hike uneven as it was increased by 150% for short traveling and 30% for far distant traveling. CPM leader said that this hike is neither logical nor justified and decided to intensify its struggle against the pro rich and anti poor policies of the state government. It has appealed to the state government to withdraw the hike in bus fares failing which it will organize strong protests on 7th October 2013 throughout the state.