Saturday, December 5, 2020
Home News Reports Centre sends eviction notice to artists who have been squatting in govt houses for...

Centre sends eviction notice to artists who have been squatting in govt houses for decades, they cry foul, call it ‘inhumane’

"The policy already exists and it’s clear that no one can stay on above the age of 60, or for more than two terms of three years each. Their income should not be more than Rs 20,000 a month. But people have been living (in these government houses) for 12 to 35 years," Culture Minister Prahlad Patel has informed.

In a new development, the Union government has sent eviction notices to over 20 artists, who have been overstaying in government allotted buildings in various parts of Delhi for decades.

While speaking about the government decision, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel informed that the artists have been provided with a time window until December 31 to vacate their government accommodation. He added that they will have to pay their outstanding dues (about ₹32.09 crores) if they fail to comply with the government’s decision. “But if they vacate within the deadline, all their dues will be waived off,” Patel emphasised.

“The policy already exists and it’s clear that no one can stay on above the age of 60, or for more than two terms of three years each. Their income should not be more than Rs 20,000 a month. But people have been living (in these government houses) for 12 to 35 years,” the Culture Minister stated. He added, “(Any new) policy on who should be accommodated will be framed later after they have vacated (the houses). Where are new artists who really need homes to go? If an MLA or MP sticks to one place, then what happens to others? The rules are the same for all.”

As per reports, government accommodations (3BHK, 4BHK) are provided by the Culture Ministry in Lutyens’ and South Delhi at a nominal rent to eminent award-winning Indian artists, aged between 40-60, for a 3-year period. The allotments had started in the 70s and were being continually extended every 3 years. It can be extended to a maximum of two terms, totalling 6 years. The government quota is for a maximum of 40 residential units, out of which 23 have been vacated.

Pandit Birju Maharaj, dhrupad artist Ut Wasifuddin Dagar, Mohiniyattam dancer Bharati Shivaji, Kathak artist Geetanjali Lal, Kuchipudi dancer Guru Jayarama Rao and painter Jatin Das are among the artists who have been served with eviction notices.

Change in government policy in 2014

An official from the Culture Ministry stated that the Union government had decided to remove quotas in government accommodation in 2014 itself. The official further stated that the outstanding dues, caused due to damage to property, have been running into crores for some artists. He added that under the new policy, only central government employees will be provided accommodation once the squatters vacate the property.

The culture ministry has stated that since 2014, the artists have been served with repeated notices.

“Any further extension of the deadline can only be decided at the level of the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation,” he emphasised. The Culture Ministry has reiterated that the families of several artists have continued to overstay, even after their death. It also pointed out how some have been using the residential units illegally for generating business such as running music schools.

Squatters cry foul over government’s ‘inhumane’ attitude

Dhrupad vocalist Wasifuddin Dagar, who have been illegally using his residence to teach dhrupad, has claimed that artists do not retire, unlike ministers. He claimed, “They keep working and that happens out of their homes. I teach dhrupad out of this home. These are only 20 houses, extremely simple, small homes and that is also bothering them? We hope that somebody will come forward to help us.”

In his defence, Dagar claimed, “In the pandemic, when the PM is requesting the entire country not to disturb the tenants in this difficult time, this is what they do to their own artistes?” It is pertinent to remember that unlike regular tenants, the Dhrupad vocalist is paying a nominal fee as rent and has occupied the residence, despite the expiry of the extension period.

Kathak expert Pt Birju Maharaj said, “During this pandemic, at the time of Covid, I received a notice to vacate the home. I have been staying in the house for some time now and it’s a huge help from the government. I have been serving classical dance and have been spreading the art form nationally and internationally. I am 83 years and I am quite sad and shocked that a notice like this has come at this time. It’s my appeal to PM Modi to think about this and the artists and find a solution to this.” He has also threatened to return his award if forced to vacate the residence. It is important to remember that the age cutoff for staying at the government allotted accommodation in 60 and Pt Birju Maharaj is 83 years now.

Banaras Gharana vocalist Rajan Mishra, claimed, “When a government does not care about culture in a country, they do things like these. All those who’ve got notices are cultural ambassadors whose contribution in the field of arts is huge. All those MPs and netas who get those bungalows, no one tells them to leave. This is extreme short-sightedness on the part of the government. You need to value these artists, not evict them like this.” However, the fact remains that the Courts, as well as the government, had directed former MPs, MLAs and retired employees to vacate government accommodations after their tenure.

Centre had initiated proceedings against illegal occupants in 2015

It must be remembered that the Centre had initiated proceedings against squatters in 2015 itself. As per reports, the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) had directed the Union urban development (UD) ministry to evict the illegal occupants. The report noted, “Pandit Birju Maharaj has been living in his Shahjahan Road house for 36 years, Jatin Das has been living in his Asian Games village flat for 26 years and Kuchipudi dancer Raja Reddy has been living in his Kaka Nagar flat for 21 years.”

While talking about the government’s decision in 2015, a government source had stated, “We are issuing eviction notices in three cases. The house was allotted to the artiste and not his family member. The family members will be told to vacate immediately…However, all the 27 artistes who were allotted flats in areas like Shahjahan Road, Asian Games Village and Lodhi Colony have overstayed in violation of norms long after their allotment tenure was over.”

Former ministers, MPs and political leaders have been evicted too

Squatting in government bungalows and treating them like personal property is nothing new for ‘elites’ in India. the Union urban development (UD) ministry has been fighting a long battle to get former MPs, political leaders and ’eminent intellectuals’ to leave the government-owned buildings and pay the outstanding dues.

Earlier this year, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was also asked to vacate the Lodhi Estate bungalow where she has been staying with her family for decades.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

TRS goes from 99 to 56 seats, BJP goes from 4 to 49: Here is why, and it is not what English media thinks

Elections to the GHMC were actually due in February of 2021 but TRS decided to pre-pone the elections by three months to gain an upper hand

NIA files chargesheet in Khalistan Liberation Front narco-terror case: Narco-terrorist Singh was using money from drug trade to strengthen KLF

Accused used to receive smuggled Heroin from Pakistan-based Jajbir Singh Samra and use proceeds to strengthen Khalistan cause

United Nations classifies marijuana as a ‘less dangerous drug’, decision, for which India voted too, to help further medicinal use

With the categorisation of marijuana as a less dangerous drug, it is believed that the medicinal and therapeutic potential of the drug can now be recognised.

Watch: Angry Rajdeep Sardesai threatens to sack his staff in charge of social media for failing to link up his Instagram live

Rajdeep Sardesai had announced that he was doing a live chat on his Instagram page to discuss Hyderabad municipal election results

Mumbai Police files chargesheet against Arnab Goswami in the Anvay Naik suicide case after Supreme Court said no prima facie case made out

The Mumbai Police has filed a charge-sheet against Republic Editor Arnab Goswami in the Anvay Naik suicide case.

Khalistanis hijacking farmer protests are aimed at breaking Hindu-Sikh unity: Here is a brief history of tensions in Punjab

The 'Khalistan' bogey has indeed reared its ugly head during the protests against the recently passed farm laws.

Recently Popular

How a teacher from Solapur, Ranjitsinh Disale, won the coveted Global Teacher Prize and $1 million: Here is his story

32-year-old teacher Ranjitsinh Disale won the Global Teacher prize and prize money of $1 million for his extensive work in the field of the girl child education

Ex-Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s father Yograj Singh joins Farmer’s protests, justifies “Indira thok di” comment

Multiple videos of Yograj Singh, Yuvraj Singh's father, have gone viral on social media where he has been giving provocative speeches amid the ongoing farmer protests

‘We will make Ravan humane, justify his abduction of Sita’: Saif Ali Khan on his role of ‘Lankesh’ in upcoming movie ‘Adipurush’

Saif Ali Khan courted another controversy recently after he revealed that the makers of his upcoming movie 'Adipurush' have decided to show 'Ravan' as humane

From supporting Khalistanis to hurting religious sentiments of Sikhs: A brief intro of the new liberal favourite, Diljit Dosanjh

Singer Diljit Dosanjh has become the new blue-eyed boy of the left-liberal gang after he supported ongoing farmers protest

Watch: Angry Rajdeep Sardesai threatens to sack his staff in charge of social media for failing to link up his Instagram live

Rajdeep Sardesai had announced that he was doing a live chat on his Instagram page to discuss Hyderabad municipal election results

Kangana Ranaut vs Diljit Dosanjh fight turns ugly, she calls him Karan Johar’s pet dog

Days after Kangana mistook an elderly lady in Punjab farmers' protest for Bilkis Bano of Shaheen Bagh 'protests', Punjabi singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh got into a war of words with her on Twitter.

Despite strong protest by MEA, Canada and UK continue to interfere in India’s internal issue, pass statements on farmer protest

Amidst renewed farmer protest, Canada and UK have been exercising unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of India.

Serial Killer Mohammad Razi arrested for killing three people in three days and beheading one of the victims, said he ‘enjoyed it’

A 22-year-old serial killer has been arrested for killing three people on three consecutive nights last week in Gurugram

TRS goes from 99 to 56 seats, BJP goes from 4 to 49: Here is why, and it is not what English media thinks

Elections to the GHMC were actually due in February of 2021 but TRS decided to pre-pone the elections by three months to gain an upper hand

NIA files chargesheet in Khalistan Liberation Front narco-terror case: Narco-terrorist Singh was using money from drug trade to strengthen KLF

Accused used to receive smuggled Heroin from Pakistan-based Jajbir Singh Samra and use proceeds to strengthen Khalistan cause

Chinese professor at US University charged with using his position to benefit Huawei by stealing technology, pleads guilty

Chinese professor working as a Researcher at the Texas-Arlington University was accused by US prosecutors of using his position to steal American technology to benefit Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd

‘We will make Ravan humane, justify his abduction of Sita’: Saif Ali Khan on his role of ‘Lankesh’ in upcoming movie ‘Adipurush’

Saif Ali Khan courted another controversy recently after he revealed that the makers of his upcoming movie 'Adipurush' have decided to show 'Ravan' as humane

Indian team that won FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020 struggles through custom department procedure to get their medals

Srinath Narayanan, the Vice President of the team, said that it took a week's time for the medals to reach Chennai from Bangalore.

Punjab: National head of Hindu organisation Shri Ram Bhakt Sena brutally assaulted by three unidentified bike-borne assailants

The chairman of Punjab Hindustan Shiv Sena said that the Hindu leaders are on the radar of various anti-national elements in Punjab

United Nations classifies marijuana as a ‘less dangerous drug’, decision, for which India voted too, to help further medicinal use

With the categorisation of marijuana as a less dangerous drug, it is believed that the medicinal and therapeutic potential of the drug can now be recognised.

Watch: Angry Rajdeep Sardesai threatens to sack his staff in charge of social media for failing to link up his Instagram live

Rajdeep Sardesai had announced that he was doing a live chat on his Instagram page to discuss Hyderabad municipal election results

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
492,962FollowersFollow
20,300SubscribersSubscribe