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Foot march for people control over natural resources culminated with public hearing in Umaria

By Anil Kumar Gupta - Ekta Parishad

  • More than 500 tribal from 60 villages from 3 block namely Karkeli, Manpur and Pali participated
  • Women raised issue of safe drinking water as well as sanitation problem in house hold and school
  • Most of the villages could not get the community forest rights

11th June, 2014 Pali (Umaria) Madhya Pradesh.

More than 500 tribal and poor farmers marched for 20 to 30 kilo meters from 3 different places and organized a public hearing on people control over natural resources Water, Forest and Land to put their grievance before the panel of peoples from CSOs, Journalist and Bureaucrats. Problems raised in the public hearing were mainly problem of safe drinking water, lack of community forest rights and individual forest land rights.

Responding the public grievances, Mr. Milind Nagadev (Additional Collector, Pali) promised to short out entire genuine problem within a week. Also he mentioned and awaked the tribal about their rights and an act name People Service Guarantee Act (Lok Seva Guarantee Act) and appealed to file more and more application under this act, which he can make responsible to the officials of the administration.

Kunwar Singh from Kurawar villages told that he along with the villagers could not get the community forest rights yet, and they are facing tremendous problem. Mrs. Mamata from Shantinagar of Maliyaguda panchayat told about the scarcity of drinking water in her village, and women has to fetch water 2 kilo meter far from their houses. Kamala Bai from Kumurdu villages told that she is not getting old age pension because of the insensitiveness of the panchayat Secretary and Sarpanch (head of the panchayat). Sulochana bai from Tiwani villages told that there are two toilet rooms in the school but no one is functioning because of the lack of water as a result adolescent girl do not go to school. Many tribal put their problems in the public hearing as well as they made application also.

Addressing the Public hearing Mr. Ran Singh Parmar (National Working President of Ekta Parishad) told that it is surprising that people are suffering from different problems related their basic needs and human rights. Anil Kumar Gupta (Coordinator of Right to Water Campaign) told that drinking water scarcity in the villages are major area of concern that tribal people in remote villages are fetching water far from their houses and some tribal community have to drink contaminated water from river or seasonally canal. Public hearing was also addressed by the District Women and Child Officer, Mr. Santosh Dwivedi (Eminent Gandhian), Mr. Santosh Singh and Mr. Bhagawat (Senior activist of Ekta Parishad).Sister Bimla Baran of MPSSS coordinated the public hearing.Mr. Chandan Singh, Mr. Ramprakash, Mr. Santosh, Mr. Rohit, Sister Puspa worked very hard to make successful of foot-march and public hearing. 

This foot marches were started from 3 different locations with participation of more than 500 tribal from 60 villages on 10th June 2014. Foot-marcher arrived in Pali Block on 11th June in a public rally. Foot marchers raised slogan about the people’s control over natural resources and right to drinking water. Ekta Lok Kala Manch headed by Mr. Kamlesh Singh and Mr. Harihar played a vital role in mobilization of foot-marchers and maintaining their energy to walk up to block headquarters Pali in very hot day of 42 degree Celsius.

This foot march and public hearing was jointly organized by the Madhya Pradesh Samaj Seva Sansthan, Bhopal; Ekta Parishad; Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram, Joura; and Navarachana Samaj Sevi Sansthan.

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