Birju Maharaj, Jatin Das & 25 other artists told to vacate govt houses by December 31

Birju Maharaj, Jatin Das & 25 other artists told to vacate govt houses by December 31

NEW DELHI: Several eminent artists, including Padma Shri awardees, have been asked to vacate government accommodations allotted to them in posh localities of the capital by December 31. A statement issued on behalf of the artists has termed as “inhuman” the government’s decision to send eviction notices during the pandemic while giving just about a month’s time to them to vacate before the termination of the allotment.
The list of 27 artists includes Pandit Birju Maharaj, Jatin Das, Guru Jayarama Rao, Bharati Shivaji, Dr Sunil Kothari, Kamalini Asthana, Kanaka Srinivasan and Wasifuddin Dagar.
An assessment carried out by the housing and urban affairs ministry in June 2015 had found that these artists were overstaying in the government accommodation, in some cases for more than 30 years, paying a nominal licence fee against the limit of stay for six years. These accommodations are in posh colonies, including Lodhi Colony, Asian Games Village, Shahajan Road, Kaka Nagar, Gulmohar Park, Pandara Road and R K Puram.

Times View

The government is well within its rights to ask anyone to vacate sarkari accommodation. But these are extraordinary times. With the virus outbreak at its peak in the city, they should be granted a more reasonable time frame to vacate their premises.

The eviction notice by the housing and urban affairs ministry says if the allottees don’t vacate their accommodations by December 31, eviction proceedings would be initiated as per Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act. The Cabinet panel on accommodation had approved the eviction. Sources said the panel decided to waive all punitive charges from 2014 to September 30, 2020.
“The government is stating they have waived off close to Rs 30 crore in damages, but the artists were never informed of any such damage. They are asking each artist, with the eviction to pay arrears in rent, but no intimation of any rent increase was informed to the artist,” the statement said.

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