Saugata Roy raises the issue of sick jute industry during Zero Hour | Full Transcript

Full Transcript

Madam, I am raising an issue, which I had raised last week regarding the jute industry in West Bengal. This is an issue which affects my colleagues Shri Dinesh Trivedi, whose constituency has 22 jute mills; Shri Kalyan Banerjee, whose constituency has many jute mills and Dr. Ratna De (Nag).

The jute is grown in Murshidabad, Nadia and all other parts up to Raiganj. In Bihar also, it is grown in Purnia, Supaul and many other parts of the State. So, it is a big problem. Over the last two years, the jute industry has been reeling under an existential crisis. This has led to around 25 per cent mills out of total of 56 in the State being shut and nearly one lakh workmen rendered jobless.

Even yesterday, Weaverly Jute Mill in Shyamnagar and Nadia Jute Mill at Naihati closed down making the tally to 11 jute mills closed in 11 days. The livelihoods of around 40 lakh farmer families are endangered due to uncertainty. In the meantime, Bangladeshi jute industry has doubled its size in last seven years and jute products are being hailed globally as an environment friendly alternative to plastics.

The precarious situation has arisen mainly due to the acts of the Central Government such as:

1) Dilution of the Mandatory Packaging Act – introduced by Shri Rajiv Gandhi – from 100 per cent reservation for sugar and foodgrains – 20 per cent for sugar and 90 per cent for foodgrains on strong lobbying by plastic industry;

2) continuous attempts to violate the Act further by sugar industry and procurement agencies:

(a) default in procurement of bags despite mandatory requirements,

(b) attempts to keep jute bags out of the National Food Security Mission,

(c) erratic indenting of jute bags in violation of established norms and system;

3) Erosion of the non-governmental market due to heavy imports from Bangladesh aided by

(a) zero duty on imports and

(b) 10 per cent export subsidy by Government of Bangladesh;

4) the procurement of jute bags has fallen from an average of 26.8 lakh bales annually (July to June) in 2013 to 20.3 lakh bales in 2013-14 and 19.9 lakh bales in 2014-15 (July to May);

5) The lack of demand has led to many mills cutting production which has aggravated labour issues, leading to violence and closure.

In the face of the shrinking market and added uncertainty about the future, the jute industry is going through de-growth. Investments in modernisation and product diversification have all but stopped since 2012-13. Joblessness among workers is creating skill deficit while uncertainty over market is discouraging jute farmers from adoption of the best practices developed over long years.

A strong supporting hand by the Central Government by way of stable orders for an extended time period and protection from cheap imports is required. This will lead to modernisation of industry resulting in cheaper and more efficient jute bags, diversification of products to increase market footprint beyond packaging into new areas like consumer bags, geotextiles etc. An environment-friendly and sustainable product like jute, will help solve a lot of national problems like river pollution, depletion of petrochemicals, landfill overload.

Madam, I had raised it last week. There is no response from the Minister. I have been looking for the Minister, Shri Gangwar, for the last three days. He is nowhere to be visible. Will there be any response from him? Or, will mill after mill close down? He is from Bareilly. There are no jute mills or textile mills in Bareilly. He does not care.

The industry is shutting down, putting lives of lakhs of farmers and workers at stake. There is no response from the Government as a whole to this big crisis in the jute industry. The Government remains silent. It is very strange that this is the way the Government is responding to people’s woes and miseries!

Saugata Roy raises the issue of privatisation of airports in 4 cities | Transcript

Hon’ble Deputy Speaker Sir, I seek a permission to raise a Matter of Urgent Public Importance in the Zero Hour. If permitted, I would raise the issue briefly as under:

The Government of India has proposed to privatise four airports in India namely Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur recently. These airports employ more than five thousand employees. These airports were modernised recently by spending above Rs 5000 Crore from the public exchequer. Privatisation means handing over assets built at a public cost to private parties. The Airport Authority of India which runs over more than 125 airports is fully equipped with all infrastructures in par with international standards.

Now the step of the Government will ultimately cause the air travelers to be taxed heavily. With the best airports privatised, the Airport Authority of India will go into financial bankruptcy. The CAG in its report mentioned that privatisation of Delhi Airport is a big scam. A similar scam is going to happen here. I have already spoken to the Civil Aviation Minister and the Prime Minister against privatisation.

In this circumstance, I appeal to this August House to stop this move of the Government to save these airports and ensure the security of services of airport employees.

The employees of Airport Authority, led by the recognised Airport Authority Employees Union have been agitating against privatisation for sometime now. They will be holding a dharna in Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 10 March, 2015 and a one day token strike all over India will be observed on 11 March, 2015.

I appeal to all the Members cutting across political line, to support this against privatisation.

Derek O’Brien demands a Zero Hour discussion on FDI in Railways/Defense | Transcript

One more thing only. There is a notice given for suspension of Question Hour. Even for the UPSC issue it was said. Now it is said that there will be an all-party meeting. So, this cannot be a pause, Parliament cannot be used as a pause button only. They have to be serious. Number two, we may differ on other issues with Mr. Yechury, but we have also given a notice for Zero Hour. If you want Question Hour to be run, then bring this up. Parliament ran up to 6.45. At 7 o’ clock when Parliament is running, media agencies are carrying reports and the parliamentarians are getting breaking news. Why come to Parliament, Sir? Sir, when the House is running, the Bill is in the Lok Sabha. We have given a notice for suspension of Question Hour. On UPSC it was the same thing done. All we are saying is that at 12 o’ clock during the Zero Hour. This is a matter which concerns many Members. There is an FDI in Insurance Bill hanging fire here. That is the reality. So, why this backdoor? So, let us discuss at 12 o’ clock. Sir, there is also a notice for that. This happened last time. Just give us an assurance.