Bhubaneswar, Feb 22: Jatra (Open Pendal Theatre) artistes on Monday launched a fast onto death dharna at the Lower PMG here, demanding fulfillment of 12 demands, including permission for staging Jatra with 2,000 spectators at a time.
“Schools and colleges have opened. Cinema halls are operating. Jatra artistes have sat home for a year without earning a single pie. They are under tremendous stress. A few have also died,” lamented Daitari Panda, a senior Jatra actor.
Bapi Panda, another senior Jatra artiste, said a Jatra can’t be staged without participation of minimum of 2,000 spectators. “Jatra artistes promote Odia culture and literature. The Government should allow staging of Jatra with participation of minimum of 2,000 spectators. Jatra artistes have to earn living for sustenance of our families,” contended he.
Notably, the Government has given permission for holding Jatra with participation of 500 spectators only.
The artistes have threatened that they would stage protests at district headquarters from February 24 if their demands are not met by Feb 23.