Effigy makers complain of high rent for using public land.
New Delhi: The Delhi high court has asked the AAP government and municipal corporations to re-look charges fixed by them for using space at sites designated for making Ravana effigies by artisans.
A bench of acting chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar asked the Delhi government and the corporations to place a report before it after re-looking usage charges and listed the matter for further hearing on August 7.
The direction was issued after the artisans told the court that at the present rate of Rs 5 per square feet, they would end up paying between Rs 22,000 to Rs 30,000 each month and they cannot afford it.
They sought that the usage charges be reduced to Rs 1 per square feet which was affordable. They said if they apply for registration under the current policy, the authorities would assume it as acceptance of the higher usage charges.
The court was hearing a PIL initiated on its own after it came across a news report saying that several Ravana effigies, built by artisans who came here from Rajasthan for Duss-ehra, were destroyed or confiscated by the South Delhi Municipal Corpora-tion for allegedly encroac-hing on public land.
Last September, it had asked the Delhi government and the corporation to formulate a policy for allocating land to the artisans to do their work. Thereafter, a draft policy was framed by the Delhi government after holding meetings with the corporations and other civic bodies.
The policy laid down the modalities for utilizing land identified for use by the artisans. Under the policy, there is a registration fee of Rs 500 per applicant and usage charges of Rs 5 per square feet per month.
It stated that artisans have to register with the corporations two months before the start of the work and once a site is allotted it would be for only two months.
After expiry of the period of allotment, the artisans have to vacate the site.
If the number of app-licants exceeds the land available, then registrations would be granted on the first-come-first-serve basis, the document said.