SHELTER for Writers ,the only successful initiative
–by OPENDER CHANANA
Many may not be aware of the fact the State Government in the early eighties did allot houses to Film Writers in the year 1982. The then Managing Committee of the association under the chairmanship of late well known literary figure Mr. Krishan Chander took the initiative of approaching the state government for allotment of land or homes for its members. Mr. Chander initiated a dialogue with Mr P.K. Kunte, the then Minister of State for Housing and Public Works, Government of Maharashtra.
The year was 1976. In his communication dated 5th October, 1976, Mr. Kunte conveyed to Mr. Chander a proposal for allotment of tenements to film writers.
The content of the said communication is reproduced below:
MINISTER OF STATE FOR HOUSING AND PUBLIC WORKS
GOVERNMENT OF MAHARASHTRA
Sachivalaya, Mumbai: 400 032
Dated: 5th October 1976
Dear Shri Krishan Chander,
We have been discussing the question of providing a plot of land for the Film Writers Association for some time now. I regret the delay in finalizing this matter. However, it has now been possible for the Maharashtra Housing Board to Announce the Site and Services Scheme at Poisar, Bombay under which we are offering plots for H.I.G., M.I.G., L.I.G., E.W.S., categories of citizens. The M.I.G. and H.I.G. plots are for citizens of higher bracket of income, i.e. Rs.1500 and above. The L.I.G. plots are meant for citizens with a total income of Rs.600/- per month. I now understand that the Association is willing to book three or four plots in the L.I.G. Category at Poisar. As per the plan, 38 tenements can be constructed on each plot at a price of Rs.9000/- per tenement. The idea basically is that Film Writers should come together and form into one or more Co-operative Societies and build their own tenements through Builders/Contractors approved by the Maharashtra Housing Board and as per plans and estimates sanctioned by the Board. The Board will be collecting an initial deposit of Rs.4000/- from each member to be credited to the proposed Co-operative Housing Society in due course. The balance amount is to be paid in 120 monthly instalments along with local taxes, etc. Although in my letter, I have given broad details of this proposal, I may add that it may be subject to some changes of a very minor nature. The full details are being worked out. In the meantime, I shall be grateful to reserve three plots of land (114 tenements) for the Film Writers Association. I request that within a month’s time, the representatives of the Association may kindly get in touch with the Officers of the Maharashtra Housing Board and finalise this. I hope, you are progressing well. Your services to this world of Indian Literature in general and to our cultural renaissance are indeed so noble and notable that everyone will wish from the bottom of his heart for your speedy recovery.
With kind regards.
(P. K. KUNTE)
Shri Krishan Chander,
President Film Writers’ Association
From the contents of the above referred communication it is evident that Mr. Chander’s credibility and standing played a key role in the allotment of homes for film writers. It is also true that during that period the Government and those at the helm of affairs held the writers, technicians, and artists in high esteem.
Mr. Madhusudan, one the founders of the association and fortunately very much alive and active informs that nearly 114 tenements were allotted to film writers under the category of L.I.C (Lower Income Group). According to him the association took only 30-32 allotments. The category under which the allotment was done did not generate desired interest. Nevertheless several members benefitted by acquiring a home or roof over their heads. It is also a fact that in late seventies or early eighties when allotment was done, the activities of industry had not shifted to nearby suburbs like Andheri. The Production offices were mostly confined to Naaz (Lamington Road) while studios were located in 204 Mahalaxmi, Dadar etc. The scenario has changed today with most of the main Production houses, television channels, studios occupying large space in the suburb of Andheri, especially in areas like New Link Road Oshiwara, Four Bungalows, and Versova. Many technicians and workers now reside in these areas and find it a convenient location. Various associations too shifted to these areas in early or late nineties. By the beginning of this century, barring two associations, all of them have their offices in areas like Oshiwara and New Link Road. At present several studios have come up in far off places like Naigaon where major work or shooting of serials for television takes place.
Those who acquired homes in Samta Nagar in the suburb of Kandivali East must be thanking their stars since they were subsequently allotted bigger homes by builders who took up the area for re-development. The place commands a hefty premium now.
The letter of allotment provided to members by the Office of the Estate Manager contains the following key features:
- The initial down payment of Rs.12, 000/- (Rupees twelve thousand rupees) were paid by members in four equal instalments. • The allotment was done on 1st of March, 1982 under the Low Income Group on Hire Purchase Basis on payment of Monthly equated instalment of Rs.101/- payable to the office of the Estate Manager (II), Griha Nirman Bhavan, Bandra East, Mumbai: 400 050 for a period of 12 years towards the balance cost of the tenement. • In addition to the monthly equated instalment referred to above to the said office, members were required to pay the following charges as under:
- Rs.36.00 Towards provisional service charges
- Rs.6.00 Towards lease rent (Provisional)
- Rs.23.00 Provisional Municipal Taxes.
- Rs.9.00 Management Charges
- Rs. 5.00 N.A. Assessment- Rs. 79.00
The option of paying full tentative sale price in lump sum, at the initial stage was also offered to members as under:
1) Rs. 20,500.00 Towards the full tentative sale price
2) Rs.71.00 Towards the Advance monthly (Charges) taxes for March 1982
3) Rs.215.00 Towards the permanent deposit equivalent to 3 months charges.Rs. 20,786.00 Total payment due. Deduct: Rs. 12,100.00 Already deposited to the Board on account of payments towards initial down payment including the payment in increase in cost plus earnest money deposit.
—- Rs. 8,686.00 Exact amount payable
It is clear from the above options that by paying the above referred amount, many allottees were given the privilege of paying the lump sum amount although the price quoted above was mentioned as tentative and was likely to vary on finalization of the works accounts and any difference was required to be paid by the allottee.
Not long ago, The Association of Cine & TV/AD. Production Executives figured in the media reports of having approached the State Government for allotment of land for housing its members. It pointed out to concerned authorities that it did not figure in the reserved quota in the scheme of housing of the State Government. It submitted a memorandum to Mr. Gopinath Munde, the then Deputy Chief Minister. Before the matter could move forward, the government changed. Mr. Chaggan Bhujbal became Dy. Chief Minister and the petition was submitted to him when a delegation of the association called on him at his office. He offered to allot certain percentage of flats constructed by MHADA in Powai. He also offered to arrange for housing loan. According to Mr. More, the General Secretary, the location was too far off for comfort of travelling and convenience. The matter rested there.
IFTDA (The Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association) too inserted an advertisement in the copy of the Annual Report, 2010 about a housing scheme. Not much is known about the fate of the scheme.
It is clear that barring the successful effort of the Film Writers Association in the late seventies no other association or organization in the Cinema and Television industry could succeed in convincing the State Government in providing land for the purpose of housing the economically weaker sections of the industry. As reiterated earlier no Government will come forward on its own to provide roof over the heads of workers of our industry unless the trade unionists are able to fight for their legitimate right by way of a sustained agitation.
Integrated Housing Scheme for BEEDI & MINE WORKERS
The representatives of AIFEC & FWICE are members of the Central Advisory Committee constituted by Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India. Life cine workers, beedi workers too come under the administration of Welfare Commissioners. The representatives should take up the matter of housing for economically weaker section of entertainment industry on the lines of Integrated Housing Scheme initiated and funded by the Ministry. It should also be pointed out to the concerned Minister that the Cine Welfare Fund is run on the basis of contribution made by Producers in the form of cess levied at the time of censorship of their film and the Government does not make any contribution, whatsoever to this fund. But funds for Beedi and Mine workers are allocated by the Ministry.
Under the RIHS 2007 which is effective from 1.4.2007, the Implementing Agency is Ministry of Labour and Employment, through the Welfare Commissioners in the field under the Director General Labour Welfare. The subsidy of Rs.40,000/- is released in two equal instalments. The workers’ contribution is Rs.5000/-, which is deposited after the administrative approval granted by DGLW’s Office. The first instalment will be released, in advance, for construction up to roof-level. The second instalment will be released when the construction reaches up to roof level to enable workers to complete construction in all respect. The workers’ contribution of Rs.5000/- shall be refunded to him, along with the 2nd instalment.
In addition to above individual housing scheme, the management is granted Rs.40, 000/- for type-I houses and Rs.50, 000/- for type-II houses for providing accommodation to the workers on charge of nominal rent.
Opender Chanana’s 350 plus international award winning documentary LIVING ON THE EDGE- BOLLYWOOD has awakened the world on the plight & unending struggle of cine workers who too are struggling to lead life with dignity and reclaim their legitimate rights.
Mr. Chanana is an alumnus of Satish Chander Dhawan Government College,Ludhiana-India.This premier institution completes t’s 100th year of establishment.
He has been associated with Drama- and Cinema right since college days and was also awarded collegeshan ChanderF colour then. The Alma Mater and its Alumni Association at Ludhiana holds Opender in high esteem.
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Film Writer Kri