16th May 2012, Satna
On May 16, first stoppage of the Yatra was at Maihar in Satna district where a public meeting was organised by the Ekta Parisad. Regional Coordinator, Ekta Parisad, Kasturi Patel said that today Maihar area was really a victim of land grabbing by large industrial companies. Most of the peaple are migrating from this area disgruntled at government policies and dealers of the companies. Forest Rights Act was not implemented due to pressure from companies, while more than 2000 acres of land was to be transferred for industrialization plan. In past, people displaced from Bansagar had voluntarily settled in this region. Most of the families are still landless. Under the leadership of Ekta Parisad, all suffering lot wanted to raise a struggle to save their land.Amritlal Patel told that farmers of Maihar area were getting very rude treatment from state government. On the one hand, water was not being given to farmers for irrigation, on the other, water resources on large scale were being transferred for industrialisation. Ramavatar Chaurasia said that people of urban areas are coming up in support of rural people because they are also the victims of pollution by companies. He said that both, rural and urban population, were planning to start a collective movement against these companies Mr. Ajay Mehta of Jan Abhiyan Parishad said that there was the need to generate support from all quarters to the nonviolent efforts of the Ekta Parishad against anti-poor policies of the government. He said that the Indian government needed to reform its agricultural policy essentially so that agricultural system could be improved to boost rural economy. Shri Ganesh Rao of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh said that farmers and labourers were badly neglected by the local administration at the time of land acquisition for large companies. In fact, the brokers of companies have got approximately 247 acres of land registered of their name using threat and other methods. ACC Cement Company had offered Rs. 70 lakhs (Rs. 7 million) per acre of land to farmers but farmers submitted a memorandum to the administration declaring not to vacate their land. But the administartion threatened the Gram Sabha (elected Village Council) to sign on the proposal of the land acquisition. The Chairperson of Bihar Legislative Assembly, Mr. Udaynarain Chowdhury said that Governments must respect the proposals of the villagers and the Gram Sabhas, otherwise, chaos would spread in place of democracy which would be difficult to be controlled later on even by the might of state power.