The famous Vrindaban Gurukul established by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia in suburban Mumbai has run into trouble over land lease.
Situated at Andheri’s Juhu-Versova Link, the institution imparts training in Indian classical music to students in the ancient guru-shishya tradition. It stands on a government-owned plot that was leased to it for 30 years in 1991.
Under the terms and conditions of the lease, the rent, which was initially fixed at just over Rs 5,000 initially, was to be revised after the first 10 years. However, it now turns out that even after 2001, the institution has been paying the original lease rent.
After this matter came to light recently, government officials claimed that the arrears with interest payable under norms came to over Rs 50 lakh. The flautist, who has reportedly argued that the demand for payment of revised rent had never been raised previously, has approached the government for a special dispensation in this regard.
Additional Chief Secretary (revenue) Swadhin Kshatriya confirmed that Chaurasia met him in this regard a few days ago. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the maestro had met him, too, earlier in this matter.
Chaurasia, however, denied having met any government functionary on the issue.
Chaurasia told Newsline, “The institution is run as per the ancient gurukul tradition. We do not take money from students. It has no income source of its own. We take care of all arrangements, including eating and lodging for students who stay for eight to 10 years,” he said.
Chaurasia argued that the institute did not accept any donation, either. “How can I pay the increased rent without an income source?” the maestro argued. “If the government hikes the rent excessively, I would be forced to close down the gurukul,” he said.
Kshatriya, too, felt that the case needed special consideration. “I have sought a report from the suburban collector’s office. We will put up the case before the government,” he said.
Sources said the matter came to light following the recent revision of the government’s land lease policy. Under the new policy, the option of converting the lease into occupancy rights was imparted for leases whose terms had either expired or were expiring in the coming 10 years.
The Vrindaban Gurukul, whose lease expires in 2021, was also served a notice. Charausia has already said he would like to renew the lease after its expiry. He has, however, objected to the