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Well Calculated Home-Coming

condones or tolerates their actions. For example, the campaign for 'social forestry' recently undertaken by the Maharashtra government among others, has been most energetic in ousting encroachers. These landless families, having no other alternative, and hoping to win legal cultivation rights eventually, are naturally vulnerable and are the first to be sacrificed when any new 'action programme' is launched by any government department. The unfortunate effect is one of penalising those among the poor who show most initiative. The crops devastated in the Marathwada villages were abundant and healthy, the result of hard work and of the natural fertility of the soil, especially where the land has lain fallow for years.

POLITICS- Janata s Unfinished Business

Prices Commission and an end to the present system of fixation and administration of all-India prices of food- grains. This demand is inspired by the experience of sugarcane pricing. Even if the Union government, on the recommendation of the Agricultural Prices Commission, fixes a minimum price for sugarcane, the state governments have been allowed freedom in recent years to fix market prices for sugarcane at levels much higher than the statutory minimum and these have, by and large, prevailed, especially in the case of the larger growers. The rich farmer leaders are trying for a similar dispensation in the case of foodgrains also. No political party has so far taken a clear stand on this aspect of the agitation of the farmers. Also significant in this context is that with differentiation in the peasantry sharpening especially in areas in which the so-called green revolution has made some headway, the rich farmers engaged in commercial agriculture have strengthened their social and economic base enormously in the agricultural sector and in rural life. This has necessarily strengthened their bargaining position against farm labour as well as other segments of society. It is awareness of their enhanced strength which is finding strong reflection in official policy as well as outlook and thinking of all established political formations. The ones most to suffer from this state of affairs are the landless farm workers and poor peasants. The question is whether at least the leftist political parties and formations can release themselves from the in- fluence of the big commercial farmers.

MAHARASHTRA- Who Pays for and Who Gains from EGS

to this he had never heard the name of this company! He also stated that the signature on the returns filed was not his; moreover, his age and his father's name were incorrect and his office address had been stated as his residential address. In all possibility his name was picked up from the telephone directory. The magistrate has directed the detective department of the Calcutta Police to trace the other two directors.

MAHARASHTRA-Disaffection in Congress (I)

cal compactness as well as a uniform feedstock base. In practice, the break-up was arbitrary and totally devoid of any rational criteria. The ironic part of it is that the lack of cohesiveness was used subsequently as an argument for the bureaucracy in the Petroleum and Chemicals Ministry to act the overlord over them all. Two joint secretaries from the ministry were made members of the boards of all the five corporations in order to ensure co-ordination which was considered necessary for efficiency and uniformity. These two joint secretaries became in effect a super management board for the entire public sector fertiliser industry, even as the FCI board ceased to exist. This position was reinforced by a cell created in the ministry under one of the joint secretaries which was empowered to ileal with all personnel matters of the five corporations. If the technical division of the FCI proved to be the most tragic casualty of the break-up scheme, marketing operutions now become extremely chaotic. In the absence of a reliable technical agency to draw upon for troubleshooting, the plant managers found themselves in a tight comer and the operational efficiency of the producing plants suffered a serious setback. The problems of the producing plants have, of course, been further compounded by the general deterioration in the overall industrial infrastructure, in particular power and coal supplies, But there are some additional problems to be reckoned with in the case of fertiliser plants because of their faulty petroleum product feedstock base. The two coal-based fertiliser plants, which were set up in the teeth of the opposi- by the lobby favouring imported petroleum feedstock for fertiliser production, have meanwhile been completed and have run test production successfully. This is a signal achievement of the scientists and technicians of the dissolved P and D division of the onoe- integrated FCI. But these plants are in no position to run for want of coal and power supplies. It may, however, be interesting to mention here that the Ramagundam coal-based' fertiliser plant is facing 100 per cent power shut down while a nearby private sector cement plant is merrily working on power, It would seem that the erratic supply of power to fertiliser plants which is bound to damage the sensitive plant and equipment will in due course become a handy argument once again to run down Indian technical services, and coal-based plants in particular. It is being hopefully asked in. some

COMMUNISTS-Party Matters

ments. Another powerful local daily which actually supports the Koya Ministry wrote an editorial demanding the dissolution of the legislature and fresh elections.

CONGRESS PARTY-Old and New Faithful

garden youth are faced with an uncertain future. Moreover, although there is much talk about welfare and other schemes for the workers, the actual living conditions of the workers in most of the tea-gardens have deteriorated. Many of the laws aimed at making life bearable for the .tea- garden workers are still on paper and, in the absence of a strong, militant trade union movement, the workers have not been able to wrest from the management many concessions. Till the Janata came to power, the INTUC controlled the vast majority of unions in Assam's tea-gardens. On Janata's coming to power, the INTUC- controlled Asom Chah Mazdoor Sangh tried to put on an independent image but continued very much to be run by the same set of politicians and trade- unionists. Except in a few pockets in Cachar and in Dibrugarh District, Left unions like the CITU have not been able to make much headway. This is one sphere where over the years the Left parties could have built up a strong trade union movement. Today there is growing disillusionment about the role of the recognised trade unions and in many gardens groups of workers have started acting on their own without being guided by their unions. This partly explains why the recognised trade unions have been caught unawares by the recent incidents of violence.


September 8, 1979 over 15 lakh workers. Certain tendencies, now universal in the trade union movement in India, were visible at the convention. The first of these was the tendency to split rather than unite. The INTUC had all along been part of the public sector employees' movement. It had participated in both the earlier conventions. This year, however, it not only kept away but also organised a parallel convention of all public sector unions affiliated to the INTUC. Though the parallel convention has decided to support the September 14 strike, the fact that the INTUC held a parallel convention remains.

JANATA PARTY-Jana Sangh Rides Strong

THE Janata party parliamentary board meeting on May 6 dispersed, after a three-hour sitting, without having taken a formal decision on the demand, vociferously made by Charan Singh and his supporters in the BLD and the Socialist Party, that members belonging to the former Jana Sangh within the Janata party should terminate their connection with the RSS. Significantly, Jagjivan Ram, George Fernandes, and Janata party president, Chandrashekhar took a neutral stand in the discussion. The Prime Minister, Morarji Desai, aligned himself with the Jana Sangh. As in the earlier meetings to discuss the permissibility of holding membership of the RSS by the Jana Sangh members within the Janata party, the Jana Sangh once again emerged as strong as ever.

CONGRESS PARTY- Reanointment of the Heir-Apparent

CONGRESS PARTY Reanointment of the Heir-Apparent M H J THE Congress(I) Working Committee decided last week to convene a meeting of its AICC on April 21 and 22, six days ahead of the AICC meeting of the rival Congress led by Swaran Singh. This decision to hold the first ever AICC(I) meeting is obviously intended to further legitimise the party's claim that it is the 'real' Congress.

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