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Controversy mars Odisha Dharmapada award

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 22:

The Dharmapada award, which is the highest honour given by Odisha Lalitkala academy, has been marred after it emerged that the seven winners named in one go included some who alleged irregularities in the nominations of the awards and others who dragged the award to the court.

Pic Courtesy: amareshdas.tunblr.com
Pic Courtesy: amareshdas.tunblr.com

Those accused of doing these irregularities are going to be felicitated too!

The award, which has only been given to eight recipients in the past 19 years, will now see seven recipients receive it in one go after a silence of nine years. The last award ceremony was last held in 2006 where Asit Mukherjee was conferred with the award.

The official word is that the awards would be given for 2009 till this year. But no explanation is forthcoming on the three missing years from 2006 to 2009.

However, what concerns more is the list of awardees.

Out of the seven awardees, while Dinanath Pathy dragged the award to court alleging irregularities in the nomination of the awards in 2008, two other awardees Aseem Basu and Durga Prasad Dash along with Pathy were among the 11 artists who had written to the Chief Minister on February 4, 2009 complaining against Chandramani Biswal, who was the Secretary of Odisha Lalitkala academy, in 2008.

Curiously enough, Chandramani Biswal will be felicitated with ‘Silpi Samvardhana’.

Two more artists who will receive the Dharmapada award are Siba Panigrahi and DN Rao, who are executives of the academy. While Panigrahi serves as President of Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi, Rao is the secretary of the Akademi.

As if this was not odd enough, two other winners of the award – Sudarshan Sahu and Raghunath Mohapatra – were part of the search committee for the award that was supposed to come up with nominations. However, they resigned from the search committee and got the awards themselves.

It appears, after all the infighting, lobbying and sectarianism for years, artists have decided to bury the hatchet and instead bag an award each!