KOLKATA: Left-affiliated peasant bodies will go on strike across West Bengal's rural areas Feb 28 to protest against the alleged mismanagement of agriculture leading to farmers' suicides, it was announced Sunday.
"On Feb 28, there is a trade union strike across the country. So on that very day, we will also go for a rural strike across the state to protest against the farmer suicides in the state," said Madan Ghosh, president, West Bengal Pradeshik Krishak Sabha -- the Communist Party of India-Marxist's farmer wing.
The agitation will be jointly organised by it and the West Bengal Pradeshik Krishak Sabha, the All India Sanjukta Krishak Sabha and the the All India Agragami Kisan Sabha - the farmers' wing of the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc respectively.
"We have also employed two private enterprises for conducting survey in Burdwan district covering all the farmer families of the district to look into the situation at ground zero. It will find the main reasons behind the suicides. it will also see whether the suicides are due to agricultural loans or not," said Ghosh.
Ghosh said Burdwan district -which is also known as rice bowl of the state- has been chosen because most of the cases of farmer suicides in the state have been reported in this district
The central committee member of CPI-M also stated that between Feb 1-10, farmers across the state will hold protests and dharnas in front of the offices of the Block Development Officers (BDO) demanding basic rights of the farmers be protected.
The West Bengal government led by Trinamool Congress has drawn severe criticism from both the opposition Left Front and the alliance partner Congress for being unable to take proper steps in stopping the ongoing trail of farmer suicides.
Ghosh stated the process of identifying the below poverty level (BPL) families in the state has not yet started, although other states have already completed the identification process.
"It is really sad to see the lethargic attitude of the state government on the issues of farmer suicides, identification of BPL families. We want all the poor people of the state to be provided BPL cards," he said.
Ghosh also accused the state government of laxity in mitigating the plight of potato farmers.