EDUCATION AGAINST POLITICAL CORRUPTION: A for agitate, B for bandh, C for Citu – Trade union school to come up on prime Delhi property given at subsidy – A for Aghast, B for Bullied, C for Corrupt, D for Dumbfounded, E for Everywhere – STOP IT, NOW ?!!
By J.P. YADAV
New Delhi, July 17: For the first time, a school for teaching how to shut down a country, at a 99 per cent national subsidy.
CPM labour arm Citu is building its own school to train cadres how to become better trade unionists. Although the official curriculum does not mention disruptions and shutdowns, it includes the words “strategic and tactical understanding”, which many may associate with bandhs, a fixation with Citu.
The Trade Union School and Research Centre will come up on a prime plot at Saket, New Delhi, “hopefully within one year”, Citu general secretary Tapan Sen said.
But the school will start functioning even earlier from the B.T. Ranadive Bhavan, which houses the Citu office, he said.
It’s anybody’s guess if the school will open in time for a crash course before Citu’s all-India strike on September 7 over price rise and other labour issues, which all trade unions barring the BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh have promised to join.
According to Citu, the school’s purpose is: “To continuously promote ideological education and imparting training on strategic and tactical understanding to organisers and cadres of (the) progressive trade union movement.”
Citu has bought the 504 sqm plot, just 100 yards from Saket Metro station, by paying the government Rs 22 lakh.
Today, it decided to ask each of its 50 lakh working-class members to pay Rs 5 towards the schoolhouse’s construction. (250 lakhs ?!!)
Asked how Citu had got its hands on such a prime plot of land, general secretary Sen said: “The government is giving subsidised land to all unions and political parties. We were allotted this plot and asked to pay Rs 22 lakh, and we have paid it.”
A little investigation revealed that at market rates, the plot would have cost anything between Rs 12 crore and Rs 21 crore, which means Citu got the land at a discount of 98 per cent to 99 per cent.
The plan is to have a three-storey building, to be dedicated to the memory of Citu’s first general secretary, P. Ramamurti.
The foundation stone was laid yesterday by CPM politburo member and veteran trade union leader M.K. Pandhe.
A team of 10-12 dedicated comrades, drawn from the various branches of the extended communist family, will teach at the school. “The students will be drawn from across the country” for the one-year course, a Citu leader said.
No one will be surprised if the school attracts students from across the political divide too, now that the BJP has tasted success organising a nation-wide shutdown side by side with the Left, as on July 5.
One reason behind the school could be the fall in Citu’s strength from the country’s third-largest trade union to fourth. The BMS and the Congress’s Intuc are the top two.
Sen, however, claimed a healthy increase in Citu’s strength. “It’s now 50 lakh and by next year, we hope to make it 75 lakh,” he said.
Pandhe said Intuc’s decision to join the September 7 strike was a victory for Citu. “It’s a historic development; Intuc had never joined us before,” he said. That could perhaps mean even more students for the school.