All set for a grand opening on Sunday is the hotel Leela Gurgaon, whose main financier is Raj Singh Gehlot, also the financier of Ambience Mall, a local luxury shopping complex.
To decorate its walls and spaces, the hotel hired Delhi-based designers, The Asian Heritage Foundation (AHF) and Rajeev Sethi Scenographers (RSSG).
But trouble is brewing, as several of the 21 artists whose works now adorn the hotel have apparently not been paid.
The dues pending from the Leela Gurgaon as their reimbursement for this project are reportedly over Rs one crore.
Said celebrated photographer Raghu Rai, whose payment from the Leela Kempinski is also overdue, “Over 150 craftsmen have worked together, made and delivered delicious things. I too delivered a special photography project on the changing life of rural artisans and performers. The Leela owes me lakhs since seven-eight months. And what about the poor craftspeople who
live on the edge?”
“I don’t know who Gehlot is, but they should keep their word to artists and craftsmen.”
The press note about the projects claimed it has “brought known artists and the upcoming talents of north India together with craftspeople, to reflect the story… of making a new urban metropolis amidst a changing rural landscape. The hotel’s
lobbies, lounges, rooms, and restaurants are designed to be a 24x7 gallery of art, called ‘India Gurgaoned’”.
Stonecarver Brijesh of Delhi, several of whose works adorn the Leela, said, “The Leela still owes me Rs 2.5 lakh. I live by my daily labour as a craftsman.
“I have done work for Rajeev Sethi’s company before and have always been paid. But this time they say they have not got the full money yet. We artisans are thinking of demonstrating outside the Leela.”
Sethi refused to be quoted. Raj Singh Gehlot, however, said there were no dues pending. “Whichever petty contractor has any queries can contact me directly,” he said.