CPM loosing sympathy of Farmers

published on April 11, 2007


                                  PRADEEP KRISHNAN

The Communists came to power in Kerala claiming that they have sympathy for the plight of farmers and once in power they would do everything to uplift them. The farmers of Kerala gave everything to the party. But their plight remains the same. Since assuming charge by the Achutanandan ministry, 110 farmers committed suicide in the State, revealing the sad plight of their existence. The scenario is worse in the paddy growing areas of Alappuzha and Palakkad.

The CPM in Kerala is forced to accept several reforms in the farm sector. Among them, the arrival of farm labourers is a major one. The labourers are coming from neighbouring States to reap the standing crops. This reform has brought in strong resentment from several factions within the party but as there is no choice the party has to implement the decision.

According to observers this kind of action was beyond imagination 10 years ago. However, the circumstances and growing resentment among middle class farmers have forced the party to change its line. Earlier the CPM controlled Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilaly Union (KSKTU), which was the dominating organisation of farm labourers in the State was objecting to the mechanised reaping of crops.

Then the CPM and its feeder organisation has changed the line and favoured the idea of mechanisation when farmers experienced acute shortage of workers. Without harvest, the farmers had incurred huge losses and this has led to widespread criticism from all corners leading to the party finally deciding to have a re-look into the mechanisation issue. The KSKTU had strong apprehensions even after a majority of CPM leaders were compelled to accept mechanisation for helping the farmers out.

The recent developments in the CPIM have its impact on all sectors including agriculture. Old timers of the party are of the opinion that even in Palakkad and Alappuzha, traditional granaries of Kerala, a strong group known as reformists are increasing their presence in the party and this group has started criticising comrades and party feeder organisations who follows hard-line even in the farm sector.

Even after the issue of using machines are settled there is a shortage in supply of these machines and farmers are of the opinion that the Government should take steps to ensure a ready stock of these machines which are important in the farming.

Recently, across Kerala several farmers suffered huge losses when their paddy were not being reaped. Many farmers of Palakkad and Alappuzha are experiencing the same issue. As the machines are in short supply the farmers have to depend upon human labour which unfortunately is not available as much as it was earlier and the strong demand from several quarters for using the services of labourers from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh has led to the CPM leadership to give the green signal. The farmers also feel that a total mechanisation of the farm sector is the only solution for the crisis in the farm sector in this area.

The farmers are sore that even with the LDF Government in office the farmers of are not able to procure the necessary machines for their daily basic needs in farming. A group of farmers had even visited Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in search of reaping machines but the high cost was not affordable and this has resulted in using labourers from these States as farm helps.

The acute shortage of machines and hands is having a telling effect on the farming community and the farmers feel that they are not properly considered by the party leadership even after being the backbone of the movement .

Prakasan a farmer from Palakkad while speaking to this correspondent said, “The party is not interested in the farmers and their problems. It has now turned into a party of haves and have nots like us have no say in it and in its policies.” His words truly reflect the present CPM.

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