`Land reforms yet to take off'

BHOPAL DEC. 7. A two-day national consultation on land rights is beginning here from Sunday with the objective of providing a people's perspective on the "failure'' of successive Governments to implement land reform policies in the country.

The Bhopal workshop on land rights, being hosted by the Ekta Parishad, is likely to draw more than 300 persons working on land issues in different parts of the country.

According to the organisers of the workshop, the participants would bring together material from all over the country and build synergies around a common action programme.

The workshop would be followed up with a one-day fast on Human Rights day on Dec. 10 as a mark of protest to emphasise the need for the Government to implement "pro-poor'' agricultural policies and regularise the land pattas (title deeds).

On the eve of the workshop, the Ekta Parishad has stressed the need to build a people's movement at the national level revolving around fundamental and sensitive issues linked with land rights.

Setting the tone for the workshop, the convener of the Ekta Parishad, P. V. Rajgopal, said the livelihood of the common man has been adversely affected by the growing pressure on scarce resources and in the same context, he said land happens to be the main issue confronting the civil society.

Mr. Rajgopal urged all forces concerned to join in a coordinated discussion to work out a path that could bring an end to the growing tension and violence in society and restore the weaker sections' rights over land.

The Ekta Parishad is organising the workshop after taking out a 4,000-km long padyatra to emphasise land rights in Madhya Pradesh.

Last year, the Parishad took out a similar march in Bihar, followed by a "peace and development'' march in the Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh earlier this year.

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