Of Rights and Anwers

A jawabdehi yatra to bring in accountability in governance and fix responsibility of the government in administration was flagged off today from Jaipur’s Shaheed Smarak. Iram Tasleem reports from the venue

Jaipur, Dec 1: It is a jawabdehi (accountability) of a different kind. Asking the government about its governance through a yatra across Rajasthan’s 33 districts.
The Jawabdehi yatra, which kicked off today from Jaipur’s Shahid Smarak has been organized by Majdoor kissan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and 90 other social organisations like Aastha Sansthan from Udaipur, Sankalp Sansthan from Baran , Barefoot college, Tilonia. Social activists, labours, tribals, dalits, painters, folk singers, drama artists and students from across the state are part of this 100-day yatra.
The yatra aims to bring in accountability and fix responsibility of the government in administration. It was flagged off today.
The yatra would look and study a plethora of issues concerning the public like Right to Education, Food Security, Right to health, labourers rights, women’s rights, Right to Information, labour and employment rights, pension, communal harmony, tribal’ rights, Dalit’s rights, rights related to water, forest and land right and local governance.
The yatra will cover more than 100 blocks in all 33 districts of the state. In every district, the activists would spend three days which includes registration of grievances of local people, nukkad sabhas, organisation of jawabdehi mela at each district head quarter, nukkad nataks to generate awareness amongst people about their rights. After the yatra gets over, the complaints would be followed up by MKSS workers.
Nikhil Dey of MKSS said, “We try to tie all the grievances of deprived, poor, Dalits, youth, women, old aged people, tribals against the government on a string and make the government answerable for these grievances.”
Aruna Roy of MKSS said: ”Rajasthan is lacking far behind as far as accountability of the government is concerned. The state needs a grievance redressal law to sought out problems of people and to improve the governance. These petty issues like pension, employment, food, Dalits rights etc are of grave importance for the complainants. In this yatra, we would register the complaints and prepare a report about complaints and will follow up them.”
In a response over Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s claim that this government is not a government which sits in AC but works in villages, Roy said: ”Chief Minister talks about jan sunwais public hearings in villages but in villages in which I have visited, I have not come across any grievance having been redressed by them. The government is taking notes of complaints but not taking action over them.”
The scene at Jaipur’s Shaheed Smarak, the venue from where the yatra began was unique as people from different walks of life and from all classes were present . The single common aim was to ensure good governance and to voice their protests against government bunglings.
The yatra started with folk song by Hela party of Sawai Madhopur district, who sing songs of contribution of labourers and farmers and criticised the government for its unaccountability and insensitivity towards the problems of people.
The place reverberated with slogans like “Sawal hai, Sawal hai jawab do, jawani mein kaam do, budape mein pension aur samman do, yeh sarkar hamare aapki, nahi kisi ke baap ki-yeh desh hamare aapka,nahi kisi ke baap ka”
Shankar Singh of MKSS said: “People are tired of the same old system of making several rounds to government offices for pension, employment, ration card, NREGA etc. They want answers now. What is the use of all these government cards as people are still reeling under grievances. This government is not worried for those who are dying for not having access to food, employment, shelter but worried about toilets.”
Dharm Chand from Kotra tehsil of Udaipur said, “There has been no improvement in condition of tribals. They are deprived of all their rights, There is a law under forest law that no land owned by tribal can be transferred to non tribals but government is giving lands of tribals to corporate houses, companies, giving mining contracts to companies on tribal land. 110 villages comes under the forest reserve of Phoolwari ki Naal but no step has been taken up to either legalising them or for their rehabilitation.

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