Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan joined the crowd of over 45,000 foot marchers along with his wife in Agra on Wednesday to express his solidarity with their demand for land to landless and shelter for homeless.
According to an official spokesperson in Bhopal, Chouhan announced in Agra that patta (ownership right) of land on which a poor person is residing will be given to him in Madhya Pradesh. He urged the central government to enact a land reforms act soon.
Over 45,000 landless and homeless people from across 26 states have undertaken a silent foot march (Jan Satyagrh) from Gwalior under the banner of Ekta Parishad. They would cover a distance of about 340 kilometers during 27-day march to Delhi.
On reaching Agra today, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan joined the march and promised to withdraw cases against tribals and assured them to provide land of their habitat on lease. Besides, he also declared to order probe against forest officials who damaged the belongings of tribals, who moved for march from MP.
On delay in joining the Jan Satyagrah, he said that he was out of country and after his return, he joined the march as soon as possible.
He further said the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh should think on some important issues including a national land reform policy, ensuring cultivable land for landless people and right to shelter for the homeless.
Besides, he urged the PM to do something in the interest of the poor and needy by directing the ministry to look into their issues and play a constructive role in resolving them. He also hoped that there would be a positive declaration at Agra on Thursday.
Chouhan further said that there was a lot of stress on saving tigers but nobody seems to be thinking about those living in forests, if all would save only tiger, who would fight for tribals.
Chouhan said that the issues relating to poor should be at the core of politics. A special debate was required on the issues concerning the common man.
CM informed the gathering that pattas of land had been given to 100076 tribals in Madhya Pradesh. The process of giving pattas would continue in future also until every eligivle tribal got the same, he added.
Swami Agnivesh also joined the march and said that Central government was reducing the status of tribals into 'bandhua mazdoor' (bonded labour) by not providing them land.
Students of Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) also joined the march.
Agra Mayor Indrajeet Balmiki and MP Ramashankar Katheria welcomed the marchers on their arrival in the city of Taj.
Sources claimed that the Union Minister for rural development Jairam Ramesh indicated at a possible breakthrough at the meeting with Jan Satyagraha delegation and the march might be called off as early as Thursday if a formula was woked out to the satisfaction of foot marchers.