Bundelkhand, the heart of India, is facing acute water scarcity leading to serious drought conditions for more than last ten years.Low rainfall in last few years has hampered the agricultural practices forcing the village people to move out to nearby cities in search of livelihood options. Locked homes are a common sight in most villages across entire Bundelkhand today.
As we all are aware that water scarcity is increasing day by day in entire nation, Land use pattern of agriculture land is continuously being replaced for non-agricultureworks. Even after five years of Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013,the number of landless population is increasing. Jal-Jan Jodo Abhiyan and Ekta Parishad are jointly campaigning to ensure land and water right in entire nation. leaders of both movements are discussing the issue with civil society organizations, farmer leaders, social activists, scientists, journalists and youthsto prepare a strategy for a people’s movement “Jan Andolan 2018”. It was mutually decided that 5 unified meetings will be conducted by Ekta Parishad and Jal-Jan Jodo Abhiyan to Mobilize & Organize civil society organization, farmer’s organization, youth and women. Thefirst, two-day joint meeting was organized at Sattar (Chandrashekhar Park) in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh on 13-14 May 2018.
Several social activists, scientists, farmer leaders, journalists participated in the meeting. Stockholm Water prize winner Water Man Rajendra Singh stated that only 1 percent population is controlling over 70% water, natural resources, land and economy, which is promoting socialand natural disbalance resulting in over exploitation of the same. Today, large sections of society are facing the problem of pollution, encroachment, water contamination, climate change due to over exploitation of natural resource. Communities from rural area are compelled to migrate to cities as agriculture no more remains sustainable.
On the occasion, very prominent Gandhian and founder of Ekta Parishad P.V. Rajgopal said that situation of drought and famine has arisen due to poor government policies. Society must take responsibility to bring the government on right track.
National president of Ekta Parishad, Ran Singh Parmaraddressed social activist and said farmers, labor, women, deprived section of society are living under worse condition due to poor implementation and exploitative government policies. To address thesituation, we need to initiate dialogue and make strong strategy.
National Convener of Jal-Jan Jodo Abhiyan Sanjay Singh said that there is huge confusion among society due to current model of development. Natural resources especially Water, Land and forest are being sold to corporate, which needs to be conserved immediately. External forces are trying to suppress the voice of social movements.
Various other speakers like Ms. Jill, Dr. Sk. Rai, Dr. Ramesh Kumar, Dr. Nayim, Amit Tripathi, Arvind Singh, Vasudev Go swami, Ajay Srivastava, Santosh, Baliram Ram Prakash Bhai, Shraddha, Manish Singh also addressed the participants. In this meeting, more than 200 social activists from Bundelkhand, Baghelkhand, Chambal, Sagar, Gwalior region participated. It was mutually decided that public awareness rally will be organized in drought effected area of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Municipality chairperson of Talbehat Mrs. Mukta Soni said that Bundelkhand is one of the most backward regions of India, which is under severe drought and famine. To cope with water scarcity, we all need to work with integrated approach. She further explained about water conservation work done in Talbehat block. On this occasion youth social activist Amit Tripathi said that it is right time to provide platform to youths, their participation at the level of village, panchayat need to be increased. Youths are diverted in multiple dimensions, we need to work on to bring them on common platform and also need to build their understanding and make them aware about Water, Land and forest issue.
On the 2nd day of programme, deliberations focused on how to make the nation drought and famine free. To make nation drought and famine free, 15 resolutions were passed after mutual consent, and an action plan was agreed which areas follows: –
To organize community awareness yatras in 3 phases
- Morena to Gwalior (Chambal Region) from 21-30 May 2018.
- Chitrakoot to Lalitpur (UP Bundelkhand) from 21-29 May 2018.
- Panna to Damoh (MP Bundelkhand) from 21-29 May 2018.
- To organize Shramdaan Camps to protect the natural resourcesin Shivpuri, Sagar, Shehdol, Damoh and Jhabua.
- To get 10 million signatures in support of our demand.
- 2000 local volunteers from Bundelkhand UP will join Jan Andolan 2018 at Palwal
- Social media campaigning lead by youths of Jhansi