Srinagar, Oct 23, KDC: Months after alleged fraud by the group of performers during the Dubai Expo 2022, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has now constituted a four-member committee for the settlement of payment and matters related to artists.
In April, several artists from Kashmir accused a top Jammu and Kashmir administration official of committing fraud by withholding full payment for their performance at the Dubai Expo last year.
Several artists were flown to the UAE in December 2021 to perform at the Dubai Expo. They included singers Mahmeet Syed, Irfan Nabi, Bilal Ahmad, Waqar Khan, and others.
Addressing a press conference, the artists alleged, “In December 2021, we were booked by the Department of Industries and Commerce to perform at the J&K pavilion at the Dubai Expo. We were promised a payment of Rs 2.25 lakh per person for our two-week international trip. Excited and proud to represent our union territory, we travelled to Dubai and performed diligently for around 11 days from January 2 to January 14, 2022.”
The artist has put allegations against Handloom and Handicraft Department Director Mehmood Shah. Artists alleged that despite numerous attempts to seek payment, they were told that only Rs 50,000 per artist, which is a mere 22% of what was originally promised, would be paid.
The officer had, however, answered the allegation and said, “With respect to remuneration, Performance Fee is being paid in accordance with the rates notified by the Cultural Academy, J&K. An amount of Rs 17 lakh approximately was spent on the boarding and lodging of these 11 artists, who were part of the cultural troupe.”
Meanwhile, according to Srinagar based news agency Kashmir Dot com, the Industries of Commerce Department has constituted a committee in this regard and said “Sanction is hereby accorded to the constitution of the following Committee of Officers for settlement of payment and dispute involved in the matter related to Artists who participated in Dubai World Expo-2021.”
The committee members include the Managing Director, JKTPO (Chairman), Addl. Secy (A) to Govt, I&C Department (Member representing Adm. Department), FA/CAO Directorate of Industries, Jammu (Member Secretary), Deputy Director Planning I&C (Member).
As per the order, the Committee shall verify the rates being offered and given to Artists by the other Government departments dealing in the subject, like J&K Academy of Art & Culture, DIPR, Prasar Bharti and Dance and Drama division of GOI and recommend accordingly.
The Committee may invite the representatives of these departments as experts to assist in the matter. The Committee shall come up with a firm decision in the case within one week from the date of constitution and notification without delay. Any other suggestion/recommendation that the Committee may deem fit. (KDC)