By Priyanka Vaid:
These days people own properties everywhere. No, not everyone everywhere, but someone somewhere. Owning a flat in the several high-rise buildings in and around Delhi is a new trend of sorts. Where some people have more than one land to call theirs, there is a group of people who have not owned an ounce of land in their lifetime. A group that consists of ‘only’ about 40,000 people!
Why were these people not given land by the government? Where is their land? Some of their land was taken away under the name of forest conservation and the others who have the property deeds have a problem finding where it is. Early man was a wanderer, but the modern man lives a stable life. He does not have to go around looking for food and shifting places every day. But when you have no land to call yours, how do you build a life? The plight of hordes of these people cannot be understood so easily. Their strength is insurmountable. They have walked hundreds of kilometres, eaten, slept and stayed on the roads for a longer part of the year, that too without any act of violence or misconduct on their part.
Having been promised solutions before, they have waited and waited for sixty years, but to no avail. The government took the first step by framing a National Land Reform Council but has not walked beyond that. Promises made and broken is a trend in the scheme of things. It is easier to say, ‘things will be taken care of’ when you have a home to go back to, but it is very difficult to be on their side, as is said, “You’ll never understand a person until you walk a mile in his shoes”.
India is a not a small country in terms of land area but its judicious use is a necessity to support the population. Rather than selling acres and acres of land to new housing projects of big companies, whose sole purpose is profit, the government could do better to help these landless pilgrims, which is actually their right. Not all land is meant for forest or conservation purposes. Many acres of land have been taken away by the overlords on false claims; these innocent people have been duped by the combined team of overlords and the local officials.
Providing consolation and making laws is a waste if implementation of the same is not taken seriously. A step has to be taken to look into the matter from the side of these people and work on solutions such as getting the land back from the illegal occupants, the overlords. Not only should a piece of land be assigned to each family but its protection from miscreants must also be part of the law. The latest promises by the government in this regard guarantee ten cents of homestead land to every landless poor family. This guarantee must be upheld by the government so that the story ends with a good moral that perseverance pays.
With the proof of address being of mighty significance in our attaining a convenient life today, I wonder how these people manage the small necessities of an easier life.