The Delhi High Court has directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to ensure that the area allotted to artisans, who make Ravana effigies for Dussehra, is exclusively available to them “without any hindrance”.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao also directed SDMC to provide water, electricity and security measures by September 19 at the site allotted to the artisans for doing their work.
It also directed the corporation to put up notices in public areas indicating where the effigies are available for sale.
The SDMC had earlier told the court that two plots of land have been identified in west Delhi for artisans making Ravana effigies ahead of the festive season.
The bench had earlier asked the south Delhi civic body to charge the artisans only Rs 1.50 per square feet per month for this year.
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 Dussehra, were destroyed or confiscated by the SDMC for allegedly encroaching on public land.
Last September, it had asked the Delhi government and the corporation to formulate a policy for allocating land to the artisans.
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 utilising land identified for use by the artisans.
It stated that the artisans would have to register with the corporations two months before the start of the work and once a site was allotted, it would be for only two months. On expiry of the period of allotment, the artisans would have to vacate the site.
The document also said that the artisans would have to ensure that there was no pollution of any kind at the site allotted to them.