The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), now in session at A.K. Gopalan Bhavan in New Delhi, has adopted the following resolution:
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) expresses its grave concern at the severe drought conditions prevailing in large parts of the country. While the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat are the worst affected, drought conditions are also being reported in parts of Orissa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.
In Rajasthan, the life of over 2.5 crores of people and 3.5 crores of cattle are threatened by drought. People in 26 out of the 32 districts are existing in miserable conditions -- drinking water is not available and underground water sources have dried up. Reports of starvation deaths are coming in from various parts of the state. People in over 26,000 villages are badly affected.
The situation in Gujarat is equally miserable. The Kutch and Saurashtra regions are severely hit. Over 8,000 villages and 43 cities are without any source of water supply. Most of the reservoirs and dams in the state have dried up. The state government, instead of organising relief, has resorted to police actions for terrorising people who have come out on the streets in protest against relief not being provided.
In all these states, the worst affected are mainly the rural poor, agricultural workers and daily wage labourers.
The lackadaisical attitude adopted by the Central government is, indeed, unfortunate. Reports suggest that this is probably the worst condition of drought leading to a near famine situation in independent India. Instead of treating this as a national calamity and organising relief on a warfooting, the Central government has adopted a callous attitude. Due to inadequate relief, large-scale migration from affected areas is taking place.
The proposals suggested so far to meet the situation are woefully inadequate. The proposal to provide food to the people at the rates for those below the poverty line is not sufficient to meet the severity of misery. Immediate provision of cooked food by drawing foodgrains from the available stock must be provided free to people in the worst affected areas. Further, `food for work' programme must immediately be started to provide relief to the people. Drinking water must be supplied through special arrangements. Fodder for the cattle must immediately be provided in order to ensure that the agony of the rural people does not prolong too long.
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) calls upon the Vajpayee government to immediately provide the required relief and funds to meet the severe misery that these drought conditions have imposed on crores of Indian people.
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) appeals to all mass organisations, irrespective of their affiliation, to rush relief to the affected areas.
Two CPI(M) Parliamentary teams are visiting the worst affected areas. Basudev Acharya, Rupchand Murmu (Lok Sabha), Bratin Sengupta (Rajya Sabha) are visiting Gujarat. Sarala Maheshwari (Rajya Sabha) and Sunil Khan (Lok Sabha) are visiting Rajasthan.