Maharashtra government yet to compensate tribal artists for missing paintings

Representational image.  

Tribal artists have been waiting for over three years for compensation from the Maharashtra government after its Tribal Development Department (TDD) allegedly lost their paintings worth ₹20.79 lakh displayed at an international exhibition in Malaysia in June 2018.

The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts had organised 16th World Indian Festival - 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between June 9 and 17, 2018. The State’s TDD had displayed hand-made products and paintings from tribal artisans for which a number of officials from the department visited Malaysia along with artists.

“On their return, the artists found that several of their paintings missing. Artist Swapna Pawar wrote to the department informing that her 17 paintings were missing. Similarly, paintings from tribal artists in Dahanu could not be found,” said Rajendra Maraskolhe, president, Organisation for Rights of Tribals, Nagpur. The cost of those paintings was ₹7.90 lakh.

Similarly, Sachin Satvi of the Adivasi Yuva Seva Sangh from Dahanu in Palghar district too informed the State government that framed and unframed canvass paintings by tribal artisans worth ₹12,89,700 were missing.

2018 meeting

A meeting was called in November 2018 as artists did neither receive payment nor the paintings. As per the minutes of the meeting, attended by senior officials from the TDD, it was decided to take action against two organisations — Agenda Suriya and Purvi Fashion — and to write to the Indian consulate in Malaysia to take action against SAG Logistics, responsible for movement of boxes.

It was also decided to take a ‘positive decision’ on compensating artists who lost paintings worth in lakhs. These artists were to also get priority for future exhibitions.

“Not a single promise has been fulfilled in three years. The companies against whom action was to be taken were given their payment. Artists were not sent to exhibitions and they have received no compensation,” said Mr. Satvi. He said that for tribal artists, the amount was huge.

“Artisans invested huge time, money and effort to create those products. They believed in the department’s team and handed over products. They should get their dues,” he added.

‘File criminal case’

Mr. Maraskolhe said artists must get their money with 12% interest. “A criminal case needs to be filed against those guilty for this harassment,” he demanded. A reminder to take action as decided in a meeting of November 2018 was sent to the TDD in May 2018. Ms. Pawar too has written to the department last month requesting payment of compensation.

The Hindu tried to call TDD Minister K.C. Padvi which went unanswered. The department’s secretary, Anupkumar Yadav, did not respond till the time of writing the report.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 10:26:51 PM |

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