Convention in Patna

AIARLA and MNREGA Mazdoor Sabha in Bihar organized a state level convention in Patna on 21 August. More than 100 agricultural labour leaders from all the districts of Bihar participated in the convention.

It was decided at the convention to strongly raise the issue of livelihoods of the poor and rural population in the Panchayat election. Weakening of Panchayat laws and cuts in Gram Sabha rights will be made an issue. The movement to waive electricity bills of Corona and flood affected victims and reduce the cost of gas by half will be intensified, as will the campaign to increase MNREGA wages and guarantee job cards and work for all the poor.

Addressing the convention, AIARLA National General Secretary Dhirendra Jha said that hunger and unemployment are spreading rapidly in Bihar but the government is making a mockery of the poor by disbursing 5 kg of dry and spoiled foodgrains. Spiralling prices have broken the back of the poor. The government should give Rs 10000 as special aid to all the poor. Rampant loot in MNREGA has come to light even in the CAG report. The government is bent upon killing the MNREGA Act. We will intensify the struggle for more work, more cards and increased wages in MNREGA. Our organization will write an open letter to the Chief Minister regarding the government's indifference to the dire conditions of villages and the poor.

AIARLA Vice President Swadesh Bhattacharya said that the Modi government's divisive corporate agenda can be defeated only by the united struggles of rural organizations of the poor. Leader of CPIML legislative party Mahboob Alam said that more than half of Bihar is reeling under floods but the government remains blissfully asleep. Honorary State President of MNREGA Mazdoor Sabha said that it is a crime to evict the poor without alternative arrangements. The government should make new housing laws.

AIARLA State President MLA Virendra Gupta said that Bihar's farmers and sharecroppers are distressed but the government is bent on handing over agriculture to corporates. Bihar will give strength to the ongoing historic countrywide farmers' movement. AIARLA State Secretary MLA Gopal Ravidas said that AIARLA and MNREGA, organizations of rural poor and dalits, will be strengthened and membership will further increase. The convention also raised the demand for a caste-based census.