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Ramesh to announce fresh steps on land reform policy


New Delhi: In the face of a protest by landless poor who have launched a march to Delhi, Centre is likely to announce fresh steps towards a new land reform policy tomorrow.
Concerned over the march led by Gandhian activist P V Rajagopal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has entrusted Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh with the responsibility of pacifying them at Agra where he will announce the fresh move by the Centre on land reforms, sources said.

After days of discussions, Centre has agreed to several demands made by Ekta Parishad headed by Rajagopal which is leading the protest, they said.

The activists are demanding a National Land Reform Policy, Right to Shelter, fast track land tribunals for speedy disposal of the land cases and enhanced land access as well as land rights for the poor, marginalised and deprived landless poor.

The march started from Gwalior on October 2 and is planned to culminate in the national capital on October 28. The Government had deputed Ramesh and Minister of State for Industry and Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia to pacify the activists in Gwalior but they failed as the activists’ demand for a written assurance on the issues raised by them could not be fulfilled.

“The activists are demanding that the National Land Reforms Policy should be finalised very soon. They are willing to give the Government six months time to prepare draft and hold discussion on the issue,” sources familiar with the development said.

Ramesh had said yesterday that he was “fully hopeful” that when he returns from Agra everyone will he happy. “I will address from their camp and we are heading in a direction from where we can sign the agreement. I have full hope that the day after there will be a historic agreement in Agra,” he had said.

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