Creativity lockdown at DDK Srinagar

Artists stage protest, demand long pending payments, restoration of works

IRFAN RASHID

SRINAGAR:

Scores of artists, who entertain audiences on television screens through their art and acting skills today, staged a protest dharna outside DD office in Srinagar to demand release of in-house payments pending since 2009.
Scores of artists including Producers, directors, actors, singers , cameramen, editors, and writers staged a peaceful sit-in with multiple banners erected which reads “Creativity locked down” and slogans like “Insaaf Karo” and “Halaa Bol”.
The artists also demanded restoration of work in Doordarshan Srinagar and DD Kashir. They were also demanding to fulfill the promise of launching satellite Duggar channel and reviving Drama/Music in-house production.
“We first tried to talk with Prasar Bharti authorities and make them aware about our grievances for last 6 years but nothing happened even after authorities every time promised. This time instead of worshiping in Ramadhan we are here to protest as Eid is approaching. We even here talked to Arun Jaitley to restore DD Kashir and Arun responded I’ll do it once I reach Delhi, but nothing happened,” complained Mushtaq Ali Khan, a famous producer.  “I produced Sukh key sapney – a 26 episode serial, before seven years and still I’m waiting for payments.”
Agitating artists asserted that a Prasar Bharti team had come from Delhi before three months to preview the tapes but went back only after few days and never returned to decide our payments. “From last 6 years, our payment has not been released; we have invested time and lakhs of money in programmes, now neither they give us payment nor new work. If you have decided to close Doordarshan in J&K tell us, we will lock these institutions for which we have given sacrifice even in bad days. If we work today they give payment after years till then price escalation is increased, bank interests go high,” Bashir Dada, a famous writer and producer said.
Aiyash Arif, a noted artist said that from last one month they have been trying to get appointment with CM but didn’t get. “Lal Singh reached to protesters at Jammu and no minister here cares about us, about our art and culture that we have been preserving for decades.” He further added: “They are talking about Film Industry when our local artists are struggling. When crew from Mumbai arrives here, they only exploit our junior artists here.” Raja Imtiyaz, a producer cum actor said: “We have been affected severely as all my dues are pending after many administrative officers retired. I made 20 episodes of ropiye maal with executive producer Haleema Parveen and per episode Rs 30000 was invested.”
They threatened to go on hunger strike if government will not solve the issue within two days. The Dharna will continue tomorrow also.
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