Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member and MP Brinda Karat has said she would pressure the Centre in Parliament to amend the productive work norms under National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) for reduction, particularly in tribal areas where women are malnourished.

Ms. Karat who was here on Tuesday to interact with tribals on their economic and living standards, felt that tribals be paid wages on hourly basis rather than the quantity of work done.

Expressing concern over the distress sale of forest produce, she demanded compensation in tune with paddy and other crops to cashew and tamarind when affected by drought.

Referring to lack of food security in tribal areas, she demanded supply of 35 kg of rice at Rs.2 per kg as the four kg. of rice per head at Rs.2 a kg was inadequate.

Ms. Karat pointed out that while Andhra Pradesh had been claiming that distribution of pattas to tribals under Forest Rights Act was completed, the fact remained that majority of tribals at Neelakantapuram, Bhadragiri and Kurupam where she interacted with them, were not given pattas so far. In some cases, pattas were given for two acres or so while the cultivable land was about ten acres.

She said she would raise the issue in the Parliament and fight against the Central and State Governments till the tribals were given pattas for the land in their possession.

The CPI(M) leader called on families whose kin were killed by wild elephants at Veeraghattam in Srikakulam district and regretted they were not paid compensation and provided a job to a family member as promised.

Member of Parliament P. Madhu, Girijan Sangham secretary Midiam Baburao, CPI(M) district secretaries Chaudari Tejeswara Rao (Srikakulam) and M. Krishnamurthy (Vizianagaram) accompanied Ms. Karat on the visit.

Call for struggle

Addressing a gathering at the NGO Home at Srikakulam, Ms. Karat called for an intense struggle to force the UPA Government to roll back the price of petrol and diesel. She was on her first visit to the district.

She launched a scathing attack on the UPA Government for its failure to check the spiralling prices of essential commodities. She said the CPI(M) along with the other Left parties would mobilise 25 lakh activists to court arrest on April 8 as a part of the nationwide agitation against the price hike.

Cut motions would be moved in Parliament if the government did not roll back the price hike, she warned.

Party Central Committee member and MP P.Madhu said all the party leaders would participate in the Jail Bharo agitation. TDP leader K. Yerran Naidu spoke. Former MP M.Babu Rao and CPI(M) district secretary Ch.Tejeswara Rao and leaders K. Srinivasu, V.G.K. Murthy, C.Sampurnamma and P Papa Rao participated..

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