The Centre on Wednesday summoned eight prominent artists to vacate government lodgings by May 2, a day after eviction procedures were launched against Guru Mayadhar Raut, a 90-year-old Padma Shri awardee and Odissi dancer.
According to a top Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry official, eight of the 28 artists have still not relocated out of their government housing after several notifications.
"These eight artists assured us that they were on their way out of their bungalows and were looking for a few more days. They have provided us written assurance that they will quit the premises by May 2, and we have given them time to do so "According to the Press Trust of India, the official said.
The source claimed a team of officials had been dispatched to Guru Mayadhar Raut's government residence to begin eviction proceedings. His household possessions were kept outside the cottage, according to social media videos and photos.
On the advice of the culture ministry, up to 40 artists can be allocated housing in the General Pool Residential Accommodation under a special quota if they earn less than 20,000 per month, according to government legislation.
The Delhi High Court earlier this month declined to give Indian classical singer Rita Ganguly more time to appeal a single judge's judgement ordering her and others to vacate government-allotted houses in the national capital by the end of April.
Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Navin Chawla's bench had indicated it would not award even one more day, noting that the single judge had been more than generous in extending her two months.
The deadline to evacuate the premises had been set by the Centre for December 31, 2020, but the notice was stayed by the high court after the petitions were filed.
If the petitioners did not comply with the court's February order, the court warned it would be open to the Centre taking action.
Bharati Shivaji, Guru V Jayarama Rao, Mayadhar Raut, Ustad F Wasifuddin Dagar, Bharatanatyam dancer Rani Shinghal, Kathak expert Geetanjali Lal, and other artists including KR Subanna, Kamal Sabri, Devraj Dakoji, Kamalini, artist Jatin Das, Pt Bhajan Sopori, and Ganguly had filed appeals.
Vanashree Rao, the wife of Kuchipudi performer Guru Jayarama Rao, who was given a house in 1987, said they are in the process of leaving.
"We've started packing up our belongings. The government is unwilling to listen to our concerns. We'll be leaving the apartment soon "On Wednesday, Mr Rao told the PTI news agency.
The Directorate of Estates had removed Lok Sabha member Chirag Paswan from the 12, Janpath home that had been allocated to his late father Ramvilas Paswan as part of its battle against "illegal tenants."
Several BJP MPs who had been given bungalows while serving as ministers were also forced to leave the official facilities.