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Umesh Singh, Hindustan Times
Gwalior, October 04, 2012
Ekta Parishad activists began a month-long foot march (pad yatra) from Gwalior to Delhi on Wednesday here to press for extensive land reforms in the country.  The pad yatra termed as Jansatyagrah will culminate in Delhi on October 29. On Tuesday, two union ministers Jairam Ramesh and Jyotiraditya Scindia shared dais with Ekta Parishad leaders in Gwalior before the pad yatra took off . Minister Jairam Ramesh underlined that land was a state subject and therefore any initiative on behalf of the Union government to meet the Ekta Parishad's demand would amount to infringing the federal structure. However, sincere attempts will be made after taking everyone on board to uphold and protect the dignity, identity and security of poor and the landless. Scindia also pitched in for uplift of the poor and weaker sections of society by initiating growth-centric measures.  

However, Ekta Parishad activists stuck to their padyatra and Satyagrah Aandolan programme and a large number of people estimated over 45,000 people began their 27-day foot march from Gwalior Mela ground at 7.30 am here.

All participants have been provided with a water bottle, a carry bag, mat and cover as basic and minimum support kit. Quite keeping with the slogan 'adhi roti khayege, pedal Dilli jayege' (we will eat half loaf of bread but walk on foot up to Delhi), participants will be offered one time meal during the pad yarta, organisers said.

The first leg of pad yatra, which started from Kanyakumari on October 2, 2011, ended in Gwalior on Tuesday.

The second leg of journey from Gwalior finds connect with the founding father of Sarvodaya movement- Vinoba Bhawe. He had not only carried out  bhudan andolan theroughout the country but was also instrumental in mass surrender of dacoits like Maan Singh and others who had unleashed rein of terror in the 70s. Later his (Vinoba Bhawe) associate SN Subbarao in continuation of work on dacoits, set up a rehabilitation centre (Ashram) at Jaura in Morena district.

The pad yatra will cover 340 km distance (Gwalior-Delhi) in 27 days with 12 km walk everyday. Journey has been planned in batches of approximately 10,000 people each for the sake of convenience. At the start of procession, the police and traffic arrangements were in place and vehicle movement on Gwalior-Morena track was diverted.

Prominent among those who led the march include national president of Ekta Parishad Rajagopal PV, his wife Jill Carr, Swami Agnivesh, Hem Bhai (Assam), Dr Ransingh Parmar, Jayant Tomar and others.