Mobilised by Ekta Parishad, an NGO, the Jan satyagraha, as the march has been called, will culminate in the national capital if no agreement is reached by the end of October.
Parishad founder P V Rajagopal said that the government had made a turnaround after promising to ink an agreement in Gwalior on Tuesday, but two ministers, Jairam Ramesh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who flew there for the purpose gave only promises.
With an appeal to call off the proposed march, the two ministers had told the protesters that within six months the government will come out with a draft of a land reform policy to address their concerns, but mentioned that land being a state subject a consensus will have to be built. The two ministers also made many other announcements but the Parishad was not satisfied and decided to go ahead with the scheduled march.
The organisers put the turnout at around 50,000 claiming that it would double by the time the march culminates in Delhi.
The Parishad had organised a similar march in 2007 on the same route.
The movement’s main demands are: creation of a land pool to distribute surplus land among the landless to help them earn their livelihood; right to shelter (piece of land for the homeless to build a home); amendments to the PESA and FRA to ensure that land will not be acquired without consent; and fast track courts to dispose of land related cases. The Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) and the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights Act (FRA) legislations were being violated and should be strengthened to get overriding provisions, the movement says.
Rajagopal had met the Prime Minister and other ministers and said he was given to understand that some kind of an agreement would be reached in Gwalior on October 2.
The Parishad founder had set out on a year-long march on September 27, 2011 from Kanyakumari after which he crisscrossed the country. He said about 2000 organisations had extended support for the current march.