Rohtak MLA and newly inducted minister in Haryana cabinet Manish Grover has occupied a major portion of a municipal corporation (MC) building here to set up his private office.
The recently-renovated Pt Shriram Sharma Rangshala was inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar in July during his visit to the district to congratulate Rio Olympics contingent from Rohtak’s Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU).
The Rangshala was meant for artistes and was inaugurated by the CM in response to their long-pending demand. However, Grover encroached on it soon after he got inducted into the Haryana cabinet as minister of state for urban local bodies.
This move by the minister has upset the city-based artistes and activists, who had hoped to utilise the space to promote artistic and cultural activities.
A delegation of the artists said, “After inauguration of the Rangshala in its new form by the CM after a long wait, it was hoped that the space would now be used exclusively for a whole range of artistic and cultural activities ranging from enactment of plays to poetry and story-reading sessions, seminars, art-exhibitions, mushayaras, puppet-shows etc. It was also hoped that the facilities in the Rangshala will be made available to artistes, dramatists and cultural organisations at very reasonable rates, if not free of cost.”
However, even after 45 days of inauguration, the Rangshala awaits any cultural programme to happen.
While Grover could not be contacted despite HT’s repeated attempts, Rohtak mayor Renu Dabla, the head of the municipal corporation, said she was not aware of Grover’s office in Rangshala. “If it’s true, then it’s extremely wrong. He’s not supposed to set up his office in MC building. I will take up the issue with deputy commissioner (DC) Atul Kumar,” she said.
The DC, on the other hand, said the premises was occupied by the minister on a temporary basis to set up his office, so he could hear people’s grievances. “He will move out of the building within next three-four days,” Kumar said.
However, the DC had given the same statement more than 15 days ago as well when the artists’ delegation had met him to hand over a memorandum on their expectations to utilise the Rangshala.
When contacted, the DC evaded the question and said that the minister occupied the MC building because there was an infrastructure crunch in Rohtak. “But his new office is being built near Sonepat bus stop, and he will move out in three-four days,” he added.