City’s oldest art gallery succumbs to legal battle | india | Hindustan Times
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City’s oldest art gallery succumbs to legal battle

india Updated: Jan 11, 2012 01:39 IST
Deevakar Anand

Though the city has very few centres that promote and celebrate culture, nothing could be done to save Gurgaon's oldest art gallery, the National Art Centre that was established in 1979.

The centre at Udyog Vihar will wind up its operations after it had lost a legal battle. The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) had sent a notice to the centre in Octo-ber last year to vacate the premises.

Revenue records show that the art centre existed on the plot only till 1980. However, just a day before the HSIIDC acquired the 3,750 square yard plot in 1981, the first exhibition at the centre was inaugurated by the then union minister of state for industry Dr Charanjit Chanana.

Centre president Roop Chand, 76, is a celebrated painter and has been an associate of noted writer Mulk Raj Anand. He bagged the Haryana Gaurav Award in 2004 and was felicitated by the Haryana Institute of Fine Arts in 2007. His paintings were sold for as much as R1 lakh.

The artist had refused to move despite getting a notice to vacate the land in 1981 itself. The HSIIDC had offered compensation for the land to the family in 1984, but the artist had refused. He said, "I have been living here for nearly three decades with my family. I have devoted my life to arts."

After the tussle in the 80s, Chand said, the authorities made no direct communication with him in this regard until in October last year when a notice was served to him to vacate the land.

Hamvir Singh, deputy general manager, HSIIDC (Gurgaon), said, "We don't have a choice but to get the place vacated in view of the court orders."

He also alleged that unauthorised industrial activities were being carried out from the plot in the name of arts complex.

Chand said that the state governor is one of the patrons of the centre and he would approach him and the state chief minister to intervene in the matter. "I have already approached the state chief secretary and Gurgaon deputy commissioner to help me," he added.

However, HSIIDC will not force seal the complex.

"Considering that Mr Chand is a respected artist, we will let him clear his belongings before we take any action," Singh said.

The centre's employees were seen packing the paintings and other valuables on Tuesday evening. Chand's son Anil Kumar assists him in organising exhibitions while his two daughters are married.