Delhi: The march by around 50,000 landless people from at least 25 states from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh to New Delhi has entered its fourth day.
Under the banner of Ekta Parishad, a non-violent social movement working on land and forest rights, the marchers are representing different rural communities, especially tribal, landless and small farmers.
They hope to highlight the issue about land being a key asset in development and poverty reduction, and that high levels of landlessness and deprivation need to be reduced for achieving positive national and global development. In effect, land and livelihood rights are instrumental to all people’s freedom.
Ekta Parishad hopes to put pressure directly on the central government which they feel is resisting reform and structural change. The structural change that the Parishad is calling for is a complete land redistribution to enable the marginalised and downtrodden, to get out of poverty.
The protesters hope to cover the distance of about 320 km by October 28.
The Centre had appointed the Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Minister of State for Industry and Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia to hold talks with the activists led by Ekta Parishad chairman PV Rajagopal on the issue.
Ramesh said that he had invited the agitators to New Delhi on October 11 to hold further talks with him on all the issues raised by them.
He also said that in the next six months, he would discuss the matter with the state governments and the agitators to find out an amicable solution to the problems.
The minister also agreed with the agitators` demand of setting up fast-track courts for settling land-related disputes and added that he would discuss the issue with the states on priority.
Ramesh also assured them that on October 11, the government would try to come out with a proper strategy and take a decision on implementing it.
(With Agency inputs)