The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) strongly condemns the inhuman decision by the Government of India to convert accumulated rice stocks into ethanol for use as bio-fuel and for manufacture of sanitizers.
This decision comes as a slap on the face of the millions of migrant workers, other unorganized sector workers and other poor who are suffering untold hardships including acute shortage of food bordering on starvation because of the lockdown. Despite repeated urging by the CPI(M) to distribute the huge food stock free to all needy, the Central government has not expanded provisioning of foodgrains for universal distribution through State Governments. Foodgrains should be for people, not for fuel, as also advocated by FAO.
The rationale for using valuable rice for ethanol blending in petrol at a time when international oil prices are at a historical low, and when most petrol-driven vehicles are off the roads due to the lockdown, is beyond comprehension. Cost of oil imports have reduced and there is a surplus unutilised capacity, domestically, for production of alcohol needed for sanitizers.
People’s lives, millions who are struggling to survive facing hunger, lack of shelter and deprivation, cannot be bartered for corporate profits. This is criminal.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) calls for the immediate reversal of this atrocious decision.