The plight of the only monumental structure ‘Kalakendra’ designed to cater to the needs of art and cultural pursuits of the state is in very deplorable state, courtesy no official takeover of the building having been done since its inception in 2004.
The move to establish a cultural hub to execute state’s cultural and heritage landscape was a joint proposal mooted by Central and State government in which Jammu Development Authority too was roped in for providing land for the purpose.
Later, after the structure came into existence, since then it is left to be as a state property with no institution being its care taker.
“It is a society registered under the Registrar of Societies Act funded by the Government of India and has no direct occupation of any state institution. Since the building had to be inaugurated as soon as its inception was done, J&K state Art Academy as well as Archives and Museusm department was enshrined with the job to do the cover up function and hence two different parts were given to these institutions for pursuing art, culture and museum activities here,” said Soujanya Sharma, CEO Mansar Develepoment Authority also holding the additional charge of administration of Kalakendra adding that it is temporary arrangement only.
On the maintenance and administration of the huge structure, Soujanya Sharma expressed helplessnss sayinmg that lack of coordination between the three units is telling upon the building adversely that is fast losing its grandeur.
He said that even to replace a fused bulb in any segment he has to contact the concerned department and then later submit the request with Jammu Development Authority (JDA) that somehow completes the job.
Regarding the source for revenue generation for its maintenance, the administrator cut a sorry figure unable to single out any significant work being executed in Kalakender that may help in generating the revenues.
“Government’s huge structure of artistic and heritage value is dying the slow death,” he lamented.
The Secretary Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages Zafar Iqbal Manhas under whose occupation is the ground floor too comes up with his word of regret on it. “Government at the very outset should take the final decision as to who should take its total control. The magnificent building that could serve as an attraction for the tourists of the state by producing variegated artistic performances could enhance its value also vis-à-vis revenue aspect and can get money generated out of it,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that except some insignificant number of painting exhibitions held in one of its small hall on the ground floor and couple of other functions held on its first floor, the elephantine structure remains generally empty and unattended throughout 365 days a year.
Khurshid Ahmed Qadri, Director Geenaral of Archives and Archeological museum who was flight bound for New Delhi was not available for a comment.
However, same grieve over the issue too is the main factor there also. Though first floor is under this department’s control, but then the lack of coordination and infighting between the departments controlling Kalakender have their own points to prove as worthy above each other that is ruining the whole affair, said a source presently caretaking the Kalakendra.
As the four departments of State Art Academy, JDA, Archives and Museum Department and State Government as administrative unit are claimants to be Kalakendar’s justified holders, there is a set committee of six ex-officio members of secretaries level headed by the Governor NN Vohra that is above all and can take decision on this issue to save the piece of artistic magnificence dying the virtual death.