December 06, 2015

Rubber Growers Co-ordination Committee Calls for Protests on Jan 2

IN the context of prolonging crisis due to declining commodity price, and rising peasant suicides, rubber farmers from four major rubber producing states held parliament march and dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on December 1. The farmers demanded the parliament to enact law to protect the small and marginal rubber growers from corporate exploitation. The dharna was inaugurated by Hannan Mollah, ex-MP and general secretary of the AIKS. Hannan Mollah denounced the pro-corporate import policy of the Modi government as the reason for failure to ensure remunerative minimum support price to farmers and overcome the crisis in rubber sector. The dumping of natural rubber with reduced tariff is the main cause of declining price and production of natural rubber in the domestic economy, he said.

P Krishnaprasad, convenor of All India Small and Marginal Rubber Growers Coordination Committee welcomed the participants. A presidium consisting of Jitendra Chaudhury, MP and joint convener of AISMRGCC, Prakasan Master (Kerala), Samar Ranjan Roy (Tripura), R Ravi (Tamil Nadu), Haridas Bhat (Karnataka) and MM Mani (Kerala) conducted the programme.  Ahead of the dharna, a procession was held which was led by George Mathew, Omallur Sankaran among others.

AIKS leaders NK Shukla, Vijoo Krishnan, CITU president A K Padmanabhan, AIAWU joint secretary Sunit Chopra, DYFI president MB Rajesh MP, SFI president Dr V Sivadasan, AIDWA vice president P K Sreemathi MP, P Karunakaran MP, A Sampath MP, K N Balagopal MP, KK Ragesh MP, Dinesh Abrol from National working group on patent law and WTO addressed the gathering.

A delegation comprising of Jitendra Chaudhury MP, KN Balagopal MP, KK Ragesh MP, P Krishnaprasad, Prakasan Master, R Ravi and Haridas Bhat met Nirmala Seetharaman, minister of state for commerce and industry and submitted a memorandum. She assured that the Rubber Board will be reconstituted and made functional immediately. The minister also said the government will positively consider the suggestion to assist social cooperatives of rubber growers to set up large scale modern rubber processing industries. The delegation pointed out that such initiatives will help the farmers to arrest distress sale during the period of price crash.

Regarding the major demands of MSP, price stabilisation fund, enhancing subsidy to growers etc, the minister said a meeting of all farmers organisations will be called to discuss and find amicable solutions to assist the peasantry facing acute crisis.

The Coordination Committee has called for observing January 2, 2016 as protest evening with demonstrations and public meetings at local level all over the country in order to expose the anti-farmer attitude of the government of India and in support of the charter of demands.