Scores of artists of the valley working as freelancers with Radio Kashmir and DD Kashir are having a tough time as the departments are not releasing the remuneration of artists from last four months.
The artists include the comperes and anchors of various programs freelancing with the official media houses of the valley.
“We are not getting our payment since March,” informed a performer at Radio Kashmir while pleading anonymity. “It has been four months since we received the payment of our programs.”
A similar situation is said to be prevailed at DD Kashmir where performers say that they have been left “high and dry” without any payment issued since March.
“We are the bedrock of DD Kashmir,” Lateef Ahmad, a young performer, said. “We toil hard to make this channel a success. Wonder why our payments have been put on hold from the last few months?”
While the official version remains that enough funds have not been issued from New Delhi, there is no dearth of the officers within the two media houses who blame reckless spending on functions and seminars as a reason for the dearth of funds.
“We had funds but the higher ups spent the money recklessly on seminars and functions,” a senior program officer at Radio Kashmir said, adding, “the result is that majority of our performers have not got a single penny since March. In my entire career I have never seen such a situation.”
Of late, Radio Kashmir has been inviting people from different spheres of life who have done exemplary work in different fields and organizing seminars in its auditorium. Famous personalities like Gyanpith Awardee Kashmiri poet Abdul Rehman Rahi, Abdul Rasheed Farhad and many other singers of yore. It is alleged that a substantial chunk of funds was utilized for the post-function luncheons.
“It is a matter of regret that the money meant for the artists was spent on Wazwan served to guests, a vast majority of whom happened to be politicians,” another Program Executive at the station said.
Pertinently, the majority of performers who are freelancing with Radio Kashmir and DD Kashir are mainly youth from not so affluent families who use the earning to buy books and forms for various competitive examinations.
“I want to buy the form for Kashmir Administrative Examination (KAS) but cannot do so because Radio Kashmir is not releasing our payment. I hope things change for good,” said a performer while pleading anonymity.
While the higher ups at the two broadcasting houses are optimistic that things would change by July but the artists feel the crisis is too deep to be overcome in a few weeks time.
“Yes, performers who are freelancing with commercial broadcasting services has not been paid since March owing to scarcity of funds,” admits a senior official in Radio Kashmir, who wished not to be named. “Hopefully, situation will improve very soon.”