Tuesday, September 7, 2010

30 temporary stalls in Dilli Haat demolished

Inside Dilli Haat dancers from Manipur performed to the beat of traditional folk music before guests who gathered to mark the beginning of Delhi Celebrates a cultural extravaganza to mark the Commonwealth Games.

On a rainy evening, outside the cultural hub, Saroj Kumar Jha and other artists from Madhubani district in Bihar quietly packed their creative work into an autorickshaw. They are among those artists who were shocked to find their temporary stalls demolished at Dilli Haat on Tuesday morning. Nearly 30 stalls were demolished at Dilli Haat late in the night on Monday.

The launch of Delhi Celebrates with Manipur Day as the theme came under a cloud as rumours of a demolition to clear about 30 stalls in order to prepare the place for receiving visitors and tourists during the Commonwealth Games did the rounds.

The fact that the demolition happened late on Monday night was another issue that left many shocked and it is learnt from sources that while the action was taken on the directions of Delhi Tourism, a section of senior officials from other departments involved in the functioning of Dilli Haat were not happy with the sudden development.

These temporary stalls had been at Delhi Haat for nearly a decade, sources confirmed. They were located towards the end of the complex next to where the cultural programmes are organized.

Saroj Jha revealed that stalls are given to artists for 15 days. He along with other artists had come to Delhi in the hope of making some good money by selling Madhubani art creations at Dilli Haat.

According to Jha, Monday was their last day at the Haat. They would have in any case packed up and gone on Tuesday. But when they reached Dilli Haat on Tuesday morning from Palam area they were shocked to find the stalls demolished and their goods left on the spot. I did not lose anything but there were people who did suffer as some of their things did get destroyed, Jha added. All artists expressed their anger over the treatment metted out to them in the name of preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

DTTDC managing director Reena Ray said only those temporary structures which were encroaching upon green areas or were flouting safety norms were demolised.

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