Senior minister of the UPA government, Jairam Ramesh, will launch the Jan Samvad Yatra, a yearlong nationwide rally of NGOs, in protest against the government’s failure in bringing land reforms in the country. The yatra supported by Anna Hazare will begin from Kanyakumari on October 2 under the leadership of Ekta Parishad president and Anna aide P V Rajagopal.
The rally, which will cover 350 districts and 80,000 km, will be joined by one lakh landless people at Gwalior on way to New Delhi in October 2012. Also, about 800 grassroot organisations will participate in it.
It was in October 2007, following a dharna by 25,000 landless from various states at Ramlila Maidan, that the UPA 1 announced setting up of a national council for land reforms under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A gazette notification had also come in January 2008. But the council never met.
“It is a matter of shame that the Prime Minister did not keep his promise. Our effort now is to make people aware of the injustice meted out to them from decades,” Rajagopal, on his way to Kanyakumari, told HT.
Though a committee on State Agrarian Relations and the Unfinished Task in Land Reforms reported the problems and way forward for land ceiling, distribution of surplus, no progress has been made.
Ramesh, who will be at Kanyakumari on October 1 for the inaugural seminar, said he would try to convene a meeting of the council soon. “Some of the reforms they are demanding are important. I’m writing to the PM explaining need for reforms like control of benami transactions, constitution of land tribunals etc,” the rural development minister said.
The rally will cover flashpoints of land, water agitations like Plachimada in Kerala, Kudankulam in Tamilnadu, Bhavnagar in Gujarat, Singur, Nandigram and even north eastern states, Rajagopal said.