THE newly formed West Bengal state committee of the AIAWU met in Kolkata on March 23, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh. The meeting was presided over by Tushar Ghosh, state president of the union. The report was placed by Amiya Patro, state secretary. 19 representatives of the different districts of the state reported on their struggles and membership.
The launch of an independent All India Agricultural Workers Union in West Bengal is a significant development. AIAWU’s task of evolving a unified all India class organisation of rural labour, most of them dalits, OBCs and minorities, sees this major development in West Bengal as a powerful weapon with which to face the communal challenge. It aims to build a broad-based unity of agricultural workers, rural labour and peasants mass organisations on their basic demands of wages, guaranteed employment, land to the tiller, minimum support price, adequate loans from government agencies, subsidised food and protection from communal and casteist forces. The meeting closed with a plan to organise conventions from the district level down, raise the demands of agricultural labour from the village level upwards and a joint movement of AIKS and AIAWU to culminate in mass picketing of government offices on 18 basic demands in the month of May 2017.
Among those who addressed the gathering were Suneet Chopra, all India joint secretary of the AIAWU, who represented the centre at his meeting and received a cheque for 11,69,900 membership, which is expected to reach 20 lakhs before the closure of this year’s campaign. Madan Ghosh who played an important role in the formation of the union, also addressed the meeting.