After a successful day-long meeting with Union Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh in Tilda, the Yatra met with the Chief Minister of Chhattiagarh Dr Raman Singh on Jan. 5 and spoke with him about the issues of regularization under FRA. He promised to strengthen the campaign and advocacy for the issuance of permanent settlements (permanent entitlement) in favor of eligible claimants. He was also interested to in initiating steps for a regular mechanism towards readdressing land disputes.
A public hearing was organized by Chhattisgarh Yuvak Samaj Sevi Sanstha in the village of Baihar. There the villagers are fighting against the ‘New Raipur’ project of the State. Mr Rajendra Jangde, a local farmer informed us that this plan is intended to acquire the land from 123 villages between National Highway 43 and National Highway 6. In Baihar Panchyat, 4400 hectares of private and 2700 hectares of community land have been acquired by project. He informed us that they lost their entire graveyard and gochar land in these brutal processes of land acquisition. He says that State has put a ban on land transactions after the year 2002 and that their land has been forcefully grabbed by the State. The compensation paid is very much less compared with the selling price of plots for the housing purposes. Mr Amrtlal Joshi, a senior activist of this movement explained how these processes of urban expansion are destroying the rural livelihood fabric in their society.
The Yatra received a warm welcome from Prerak Samaj Sevi Sanstha in Rjim (Raipur district). Mr Ramgulal Sinha informed us how his organization is committed to bringing changes in the life of disabled and blind children and youth. He also extended his support for Jan Satyagraha.