Kolkata, Dec 11 (IANS) A 12-day march of trade unions affiliated to the Left parties and the Congress concluded with a huge gathering at the city hub on Wednesday.
The march started from Chittaranjan in the West Burdwan district, the site of the railway PSU Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, on November 30 and travelled 283 km covering various districts of West Bengal.
The participants protested against the rampant privatisation, retrenchment, lack of job security and dearth of fresh industries across the country, and burnt copies of the Citizens Amendment Bill (CAB) in various areas on the route.
They also raised slogans against the Narendra Modi-led government’s ‘dangerous’ plan to brand a large number of marginal working class people as foreigners based on a ‘communal design’ in the name of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise.
With regard to West Bengal, they raised their voice against apprehensions of massive job losses with the Centre announcing privatisation of a number of key PSUs in the state and even shuttering units, like Burn Standard and Hindustan Cables.
CPI-M labour arm CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen, Congress workers’ body INTUC leader Kamruzzaman and other trade union leaders of Left parties spoke at the rally on Rani Rashmoni Road.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), peasant wing of Communist party of India (Marxist), also participated in the rally.
“In the last five years, the public sector-controlled factories, like Bengal Chemicals, have been targeted and the Centre is trying to sell them to private players,” said Sen.
He said the labour unions would have to resist attempts at privatising central PSUs and cited the trade union movement’s success in foiling such a move at Alloy Steel Plant.
AIKS chief Ashok Dhawale accused Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah of trying to finish industries that were important for the country’s farmers too.
The leaders said the next target was to ensure success of the national strike called on January 8 by the central trade unions. Dhawale said the peasant bodies would back the strike.