Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thousands of members of Delhi Shramik Sangathan marched to Parliament, demanding Universalization of Public Distribution System

8th October 2009, New Delhi

Thousands of members of Delhi Shramik Sangathan from all over Delhi assembled at Mandi House & marched to Parliament against the proposed cash for food scheme by Delhi Government & demanding Universalization of Public Distribution System.

The members of supporting organizations like Lok Raj Sangathan, Pragati mahila Manch, Alliance of People’s Right, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam, AIFTU, Right to Food Campaign, Delhi Platform, Jagori and friends of DSS joined the march and supported the protest. The Below Poverty Line families living in slum areas & J J Colonies were full of anger & shouting slogans against this proposed scheme by Delhi Government.

The poor women blamed Government for cheating the poor. They said before election, Chief Minister made a number of promises for poor including a house to the slum dwellers and Delhi Government collected crores of rupees from the poor families but till date there is no house & we don’t know any thing about that. Now the Government wants to throw us in open market where every day price is rising like anything. In this situation how can a poor family survive in Delhi?

The rally converted into a public meeting at Jantar Mantar and it was addressed by several activists. Ramendra Kumar, senior activist of DSS said that this proposal is part of neo liberalized agenda of the Government. The Government is pulling its hands from all social & welfare sector schemes & pushing poor in the hands of the open market. He compared between open market prices & PDS prices of grain, sugar & kerosene oil. There is difference of three to five times in prices. It means Government wants BPL families to have food for only 7-8 days in a month. Is this a Food security which the Government is taking about?

Anita Juneja, Convener of DSS said that if this scheme gets approved by the planning Commission, not only the poor families but the Farmers & agriculture workers will also get severely affected as the Government can pull its hands from the minimum support prices of the crop. The traders will have free hands to deal with the farmers. She also said that Delhi Government is withdrawing the ration in the name of corruption. The Government should take action against the corrupt officials of food dept, ration shop dealers & the politicians who are involved in corruption. Why the Government is punishing poor?

The activist Biju Nayak from LOK Raj Sangathan, Snehlata from Mahila Pragati Manch, Ishwar bhai from NMPS, Munni from Jagori and Biraj from Right to food campaign addressed the gathering. The women activists raised the issue of non availability of food & kerosene oil from the PDS shops & also not getting BPL cards since 2007. Biraj informed the gathering that the campaign has demanded 50 Kgs of grain from the Government for the card holders & also demanded removal of categorization of ration cards. Rohit Jain, senior activist & friend of DSS stressed the need of continuous struggle against the cheating, misguiding & marginalizing the poor to live under threat & fear.

The activists informed the gathering that poor slum dwellers have written thousands of letters to Chief Minister, Food Minister (Delhi Govt), Food Minister (GOI), Petroleum Minister & Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission but not a single response has been received till date. The members of DSS organized protests at nine major traffic signals of the city to protest the scheme.

The memorandum with thousands of signatures submitted to Chief Minister & Food Minister, Delhi Government, Agriculture & Food Minister (GOI) and Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

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