The youth in the country have a huge task of battling the problems it faces, such as denial of rights to tribals and their exploitation, poverty, food crisis and corruption, General Secretary of Communist Party of India (CPI) A.B. Bardhan said here on Thursday.

Addressing a public meeting organised by the All India Youth Federation (AIYF) to kick off its State conference here, the CPI leader said flawed policies of the governments at the Centre, especially the ones led by the Congress, had led to the agrarian crisis in the country. This was evident in two lakh farmers committing suicide.

Despite being a deficit State, the Left Democratic Front-ruled Kerala was able to end the suicides through its pro-farmer and pro-poor schemes.

Mr. Bardhan called upon the Tamil Nadu Government to provide more land for houses for the poor. He said 200 sq.ft. was inadequate. His party would launch, on September 13, a State-wide struggle for land for the poor.

Secretary of the party D. Raja said the AIYF focussed on bringing about a fundamental change and not on superficial protests.

He accused both the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre and its constituent, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, of betraying the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The Tamils in the island nation were not free of the problems they had faced during the ethnic crisis and before the war between the Sri Lankan Army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The pact on Katchateevu must be reviewed by the Central government if the rights of fishermen in Tamil Nadu were to be protected.

“Indian fishermen are being killed by only the Sri Lankan Navy and not those of Pakistan or Bangladesh,” he said. On the alleged remarks against Communists by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Mr. Raja said only those who lost faith in democracy resorted to attacks on Communists.

Kerala Minister for Forests Binoy Viswam urged the members of the AIYF to implement the spirit of the organisation's slogan “Save India, Change India”. The present regime in Kerala proved that there was an alternative that could salvage the country from the disaster that flawed policies on modernisation could bring about. He called for efforts to nurture brotherhood between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Sand mafia

State Secretary of the CPI D. Pandian said sand mafia thrived in Tamil Nadu while the Left front Government in Kerala was able to put an end to it. The Public Distribution System in the neighbouring State met the needs of the poor, unlike in Tamil Nadu.

“We will struggle to get at least five cents of house site for every poor family in the State,” he said, elaborating on the movement to be launched on September 13.

Earlier, AIYF members took out a rally from V.O.C. Park to Sivananda Colony, the venue of the public meeting, to mark the beginning of the conference. Mr. Bardhan, Mr. Raja, Mr. Viswam and other leaders of the party viewed the rally.