On March 4, several Delhi based people’s organisations got together and demanded rations for the people and also protested against the closing of the PDS and the suggestion of the government to introduce cash payment system for ration.
Men and women from various colonies of working people participated in large numbers in this protest action. Participants in the protest held placards in their hands with their demands written on them – “we want a modern public distribution system through which all food and basic necessity items are provided in adequate amount, at good quality and at proper rates to everyone!”, “put an end to inflation!”, “distribution of food should be in the hands of people’s samitis (people’s councils)”, “remove the middlemen from food trade!”, “forward trading and gambling in food trade will not be tolerated!”, “seize black money and use it for the welfare of the people!”, “there is only one solution to inflation – lok raj! lok raj!”, “we want food, not money!”, “Stop this APL, BPL, and guarantee rations to everyone!”, and many such slogans.
Addressing the protest, the Delhi Secretary of Lok Raj Sangathan said that the entire population of the country is demanding their right to food; they are demanding a comprehensive public distribution system which provides food to everyone without discrimination. This means that Tata, Birla and Ambani along with their families will have to stand in lines just like the common people to get their ration. The gathering agreed fully with this statement of the speaker. He said that the government should set the buying of agricultural output from the farmers at profitable prices, so that farmers can lead a happy life and not have to resort to disturbing acts like suicide.
Demanding that the middle man in the food sector be removed, he also said that traders in an important sector like food should be stopped from furthering the profit motive of private companies both established in India and abroad.
On the occasion, workers representing people’s organisations from various settlements also attacked the statement of the government that the PDS had been closed because of extreme corruption. They said that this statement was a lie and an excuse. The truth is that the government does not want to guarantee the working people the stability of being provided food because this would lead to an end to the profits being made by the private companies that are running the government. They pointed out that corruption is prevalent in the police, officers, parliament and judiciary of the country. This proves that the government and the powers that run the government are the source of corruption themselves.
Many members from different people’s organisations presented their views in the form of songs. A representative body comprising members from all the people’s organisations present met with the Delhi Government’s representative and expressed their disdain for closing the PDS and expressed their anger against the suggestion to implement cash payment system for ration. They also placed their demand that the APL-BPL policy be removed and that everyone be given rations without discrimination.