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Ample notice given to artistes: Centre on eviction controversy

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Union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) officials on Thursday said that due process was followed and adequate time was given to artistes to vacate government accommodations in the Asian Games Village Complex in south Delhi even as the artistes alleged that officials were rude and threw their stuff out.

The directorate of estates, under the MoHUA, gave almost a week’s time to nine other artistes to vacate the property allotted to them, said a senior ministry official, and added that of the 27 houses allotted in 1985, 15 have been vacated so far. There are nine artistes who have been asked to vacate the accommodation. “They have been given a week’s time to move from the premises,” said the senior official, asking not to be named.

Noted dancer Madhumita Raut, daughter of Mayadhar Raut, said her father, a Padma Shri awardee of 2010, is still in a state of shock. “They just barged into our house and threw our stuff outside. I was serving lunch to my father and despite my requests to give us time, they did not do so,” said Madhumita.

She said the officials were extremely rude and threw all their stuff out, including her father’s Padma Shri award citation. “I object to the manner in which my father was treated. He has trained a lot of performers. But they (the central government) did not allow him his dignity. He is still in shock. The present government has shown that artistes come very low on their lists.”

In 1985, the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) had decided to provide accommodations to eminent artistes for a period of three years, with the allotment being reviewed every year. “Cabinet Committee on Accommodation had allowed retention to them up to July 31, 2014. Thereafter, CCA regularised their unauthorised occupation period from August 1, 2014, to September 30,2020, and further three months’ retention was granted up to December 31, 2020, for making alternative arrangements,” the ministry said in a statement.

Madhumita said that her father has now temporarily shifted to the house of one of his students in Sarvodaya Enclave. The artistes approached the Delhi high court in 2021 against the central government’s decision to evict them.

“But on April 25, 2022, the high court dismissed the application and gave them two months to hand over possession from the date of the order. On completion of the grace period, the directorate of estates started eviction proceedings on April 25,” the ministry said in a statement.

Raut said they were evicted from their house just a day before their review petition was to come up for hearing in the Delhi high court.

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