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WITH THE Rae Bareli district administration asking the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust to immediately vacate 1.03 hectares in Jais area, which it had allegedly encroached upon, the Congress plans to move court over the issue. The Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna — run by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust — had come up over the land in question around eight years ago. Pariyojna has since been assisting women in the area by setting up self-help groups and providing vocational training to them.
On August 4, SDM A K Shukla had passed an order asking the tehsildar to get the land vacated immediately, as it belonged to the government. Sources said the land was originally allotted to Manoj Kalyan Kendra in the early 1980s. In 2003, Manoj Kalyan Kendra approached Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust to provide vocational training to women. “It is clearly a politically motivated step, which is biased. Pariyojna has been working in the area for years, training women, which was the purpose of giving the land. Today, over 1 lakh self-help groups are associated with this project… they will be affected by this step,” said Congress MLC Deepak Singh, who hails from the region.
Alleging that the SDM’s order does not follow the set procedure prescribed for getting government land vacated, Singh said there is no way that the property would be vacated. “While our lawyers are working on moving court against the order, the affected women are agitated. We had never said that we are the original owners of the land, but we are working for those who are and it is being used for the purpose for which the land was allotted. Some women met me today and said that they are ready to fight the battle on their own,” he added.
On Sunday, the SDM had said that the court had asked the district administration to take a final decision in the matter. Kiran Singh, who had earlier moved court against the district administration over the land, said that she, along with other women workers, will stage a dharna outside Pariyojna, protesting the order of evacuation. “A large number of women will be affected. I have been associated with the project for years. We will continue to fight,” she added.
“On August 9, we will hold a massive protest in Amethi against the ruling government at the Centre and the state. Among other issues, the way the administration is being pressurised to take certain decisions in a biased manner will also be a part of the agitation,” Congress district president Yogendra Mishra said.
Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust is a non-profit organisation set up in 2002. While Congress president Sonia Gandhi is its chairperson, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, also the Amethi MP, is one of its trustees. The trust runs two projects — Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna and Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital and Research Centre. Pariyojna operates in 42 districts of UP at present. The land in question is being used by Pariyojna to provide vocational training to women from Amethi, Rae Bareli and other adjoining districts.