27 January 2012, Kalahandi
On 27 January the Jansatyagrah Samvad Yatra reached the block head quarters M Rampur of Kalahandi district where a rally and public meeting had been organised by ‘Sewa Jagat Sansthan’. The meeting was facilitated by the secretary of the organization Shri Satyapatnaik. Shri Dhan Singh Majhi, director of the organization said that 700 types of herbs and medicinal plants were found in the rich environs of the surrounding forests and mountains and the people who depended on them for their livelihood had filed a common property claim for the same but it was not accepted by the administration. The organization has taken the matter to court and awaits its decision. In areas of Kalahandi where joint forest management exists 126 common property claims were filed by the communities and rights have been given on mere 40-50 acres of land. Many present in the meeting said that the land for which they have been given rights is far less than what the claims were filed for and if they cultivate the grasslands that exists near the cultivated lands of big landlords then they are prevented from undertaking such cultivation. All present expressed their hope that the Jansatyagrah Samvad Yatra would raise their issues at appropriate forums. People also informed that the program “Mo Jami More Dih” that was designed through the efforts of Ekta Parishad is also not being implemented comprehensively by the government. Many people have received rights on residential land under this program but the demarcation of land is yet to be done. Activist Prashant Sehti of ‘Dalit Adhikar Manch’ said that 16.53 and 17.76 percent population is dalit in Orissa and Kalahandi district respectively but since they have not been able to gather proof of having cultivated forestland for the past 75 years they are being denied their rights under the forest rights act. Besides dalits are denied entry into temples in the coastal parts of Orissa. Addressing the meetings leader of the Jansatyagrah Samvad Yatra Shri P.V. Rajagopal said in current time s two cultures are standing opposite each other. One culture worships the land, forests, rivers, mountains and animals as God while the other perceives all these things as mere means of earning profits and wants to drive away the tribals so that they can exploit the land, forests and water sources for maximum profits. If we wish to fight these powerful robbers we will have to become powerful because the weak cannot fight them. Therefore together all of us have two things to do
– one ensure the implementation of all the laws that have been made for the protection and benefit of the poor and disadvantaged and two to oppose those laws and rules that are against the poor and the disadvantaged. This journey is for this message and I hope and believe that all of you will unite and become a part of Jansatyagrah 2012 forcing the government to make a law that gives you all your rights. More than 350 men and women participated in the meeting and expressed support for Jansatyagrah 2012. All the team members of the Samva d Yatra were welcomed by the MLA of Kalahandi Shri Bhaktcharandas Ji. He said that the issue of forest rights was also being raised in political forums with the support of local social work organisations. He assured the team that he would he would raise the issues and subjects with the Prissa government and other politicians for a speedy solution. Thereafter the Janstyagrah Samvad Yatra team reached the head office of ‘Sehbhagi Vikas Abhiyan Sansthan’ where a dialogue was held with the local media. Representatives from the print and electronic media attended the meeting.