May 17, 2020

TN: CPI(M) Relief Works in Full Swing

V B Ganesan

AS per the call given by the CPI(M) state committee in Tamil Nadu, the district committees along with other mass organisations have provided essential items to the needy people affected by the sudden imposition of lockdown by the BJP-led central government. The Party members have also interacted with the local administration and ensured that the relief items provided by the state government are reaching the beneficiaries in time.

The district committees with the support of CITU, AIIEA, BEFI, DYFI, TNGEA, FMRAI, SFI, AIDWA and Untouchability Eradication Front have provided dry ration and food packets from the first week of April till May 10, to the needy. They have also helped the sanitation workers with safety gears, sanitizers and face masks. In many districts, the DYFI cadre have also donated blood to combat blood shortage in hospitals during the crisis period. On an average, every district committee spent about Rs 10 lakhs for the distribution of essential items to the needy in their areas.

In Madurai, on the initiative of its MP, Su Venkatesan, an Anna Vaasal (food gate) scheme was launched wherein thousands of food packets were distributed through DYFI volunteers. Thousands of unorganised sector workers and their families in Madurai and surrounding areas are being fed under this scheme. This became possible with the active support of many traders’ organisations.

Similarly, Madurai was in the forefront in introducing vegetable packets at reasonable rates to the people in order to avoid rush in the markets. Vehicles carrying vegetables have been visiting residential areas in the city at a particular time every day. This method was adopted on a much greater scale in other districts such as Tirunelveli, Cuddalore and Salem.

Since the lockdown, the state committee started receiving details of stranded migrant labourers  from many districts of West Bengal, Tripura, Odisha and Assam and the concerned districts were advised to locate and offer them necessary help. This was done in coordination with the CITU and thousands of migrant labourers were provided with dry ration and other necessities and the district committees of Tiruppur and Coimbatore where in the forefront in this programme. Besides providing direct relief to these migrant workers, the committees also collected their details and interacted with the district administration and ensured the relief provided by the state government was also reaching them. 

As the Railways are operating Sharmik Express trains for the migrant workers, the district committees have prepared a list of the trains to enable them to avail the services. During the last week, hundreds of migrant workers in Tiruppur and Kudankulam (Tirunelveli) came on to the roads demanding special trains to their native places.

The opposition parties in the state vehemently opposed the announcement of the AIADMK government  for opening liquor shops in the state from May 7. Parties in the DMK-led front including the CPI(M) decided to organise a strong protest on May 7 against this move and have also approached the High Court to stop this opening.  On the morning of May 7, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member G Ramakrishnan, state secretary and Central Committee Member K Balakrishnan and other leaders participated in the protest organised at the state committee office premises. Subsequently, the Madras High Court stayed the opening of liquor shops in the state considering the violation of conditions imposed by the court earlier and allowed only online sale of liquor with some restrictions.

Disregarding the opinion of the sane voices, the state government appealed to the Supreme Court against this HC order. However, the SC refused to hear the appeal.