Irked over being ignored to give cultural performance during the week-long international Renuka Fair, the local artistes have not only decided to form a “manch” to protect their interests, they have also warned the Renuka Vikas Board Organising Committee of filing a public interest litigation (PIL) against them in the Himachal Pradesh high court.
A section of artistes even accused the Renuka Vikas Board for paying them less against their performance and have decided to boycott the event. They raised the question that when the fair was being organised in this district, why were they being deprived of a performance in front of their own people. They artistes also accused that a very less budget was kept for them as compared to the artistes from other places, especially Mumbai.
It must be mentioned that before the present Congress government came to power and appointed local MLA and CPS Vinay Kumar as the chairman of Renuka Vikas Board, deputy commissioner used to head the Board.
“We have decided to form a manch for protecting our interests,” said local folk artist Daleep Singh Sirmouri, adding, “If needed, we will file a public interest litigation in the high court.”
The artistes also accused CPS Vinay Kumar of putting undue pressure on those who had decided to boycott the event. They said since the fair had an international status, a relevant committee should be there for the selection of artistes and an adequate payment should be made to them. “In addition, the committee should include one member who holds cultural competency,” they said.
The district artistes, including Rajesh Malik, Jagdish Sharma, Om Prakash Sharma, Dinesh Sharma Surjan Singh Chauhan, Jai Prakash Sharma, Amara Thakur accused the board of spending lakhs of rupees on outsiders, while ignoring the local talent. They said a budget of Rs 7 lakhs was kept for more than 100 local artistes, while around Rs 10 lakhs was spent on suffi singer Gurdass Mann alone during the inauguration ceremony of the fair.
The local artistes demanded that at least three evenings should be allotted for their performance.
When contacted, officials of the Renuka Vikas Board said best artistes were selected for performance from over 1,000 applications that they had received. They said reputed artistes of the state were given prime time for their performance and were paid well too. CPS Vinay Kumar could not be contacted for his comments
Meanwhile, Pahari singer Kuldeep Sharma enthralled the audience with his popular songs during the second day of the fair.