Ramakanta Biswas

Music artistes in Odisha on Wednesday accused the State government of discrimination against them and demanded permission to hold musical programmes while adhering to the Covid-19 protocols.  

Artistes under the aegis of Odisha Music Artistes Welfare Association sung songs along the streets in the Capital city as mark of protest and submitted a memorandum of demands addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Culture and Tourism Minister and Special Relief Commissioner. 

The association alleged that many artistes have lost their livelihood due to Covid-19 restrictions. While many artistes had to sell their musical instruments, some others took up other profession like selling vegetables and fish along the roads. Even many popular artistes are in dire straits, they claimed.

The association members urged the State government to ease restrictions from Ganesh Puja and allow them to perform in functions. 

“In the new Covid-19 guidelines for the months of September, the State government has allowed 100 per cent unlock. However, it has discriminated against the music artistes,” alleged singer Bibhu Kishore, the vice-president of Odisha Music Artistes Welfare Association.

“As an artiste, I do not understand as to why the Covid guidelines are being imposed on the stage artistes and Bhajan artistes," he questioned. 

Stating that the artistes will not resort to violent protest, the singer said, “We want permission, not grant.”