AIKM’s 3rd Patna District Conference Held

The 3rd Patna district conference of the All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) was held in Patna on 14 May 2017 at the Bharatpura High School premises in Dulhin Bazaar. The venue was renamed after martyred Comrade Rajeshwar Mochi and the meeting hall was renamed after one of the founders of the AIKM, comrade Ramesh Chandra Pandey. The proceedings began with a tribute to martyrs of the peasant movement, led by veteran peasant leader Comrade Hriday Narayan Rai. The conference was presided over by Comrades Surendra Prasad Yadav, Sribhagwan Singh and Maheshwar Sharma. Comrade Umesh Singh conducted the proceedings.

Inaugurating the conference, AIKM national general secretary Comrade Rajaram Singh highlighted the anti-farmer, anti-peasant policies of the state as well as central governments, hell-bent as they were on representing the interests of big corporate houses rather than farmers. Policies are been designed to force farmers out of the agriculture, so that their lands can be handed over to corporate houses in the name of development. He added that in the 12 years under the rule of Nitish Kumar, there has been no increase whatsoever in the amount of land under irrigation. In fact, the traditional modes of irrigation are steadily declining. The government is busy celebrating the centenary of the Champaran movement, but the agricultural and land crisis which was the foundation of that movement remains unaddressed and unresolved. Youth are unemployed; there are major scams in the area of education and employment.

The conference was also addressed by AIKM state president Comrade Vishveshwar Yadav, state secretary Comrade Ramadhar Singh, AIARLA state secretary Comrade Gopal Ravidas and Comrade Asha Devi. Outgoing secretary Comrade Kripa Narayan Singh then read the organizational report, which was followed by comments by delegates from various blocks. 500 farmers from 12 blocks participated in this conference. A 25-member district committee was elected. A 11-member working committee as well as 6 office bearers were elected. Comrades Surendra Prasad Yadav was elected as President, and Comrade Kripa Narayan Singh was elected as secretary.

The committee decided to take forward the struggle of sharecroppers and bataidaars. At the same time, it decided that it would campaign for a Farmland Protection Act to be brought in the place of the current Land Acquisition Act, while also raising the issues of irrigation, modernization and expansion of canals, revamping of the handpump and tubewell infrastructure in villages, free electricity for running tubewells, minimum support prices for farm produce, affordable low-interest loans, as well as other burning concerns. Prior to this conference, membership drives were held in 6 blocks. Block-level conferences were organized in Patna district, and committees were elected. It was decided that conferences would be held in 12 more blocks to set up committees.