US-based auction house Wright is once again set to auction city’s heritage in Chicago on March 26. As many as nine heritage items belonging to Chandigarh are pegged to be sold off at $2,36,000, approximately `1.47 crore.
The auction titled ‘Design’ has 339 items for auction, including nine furniture items designed by city’s founder architect Le Corbusier’s cousin Pierre Jeanneret.
Among the nine items is the committee conference table from Chandigarh, which is expected to be auctioned for $70,000-90,000, approximately `43.6-`56 lakh. The others items include lounge chairs, arm chairs, writing table, console and sofa.
Meanwhile, city-based lawyer Ajay Jagga, who has for long been working to save city’s heritage from being auctioned abroad, has once again written to UT administration to try and stop the March 26 auction.
Jagga’s letter to the UT adviser states that so much art/artifacts of Chandigarh administration are being smuggled out of India without a trace. He points out that the sale of heritage items by way of junk is actually the “Indian Heritage Scam”.
It further reads that if the administration considers the furniture junk, they should sell the items by way of global or international auction to foreign auction houses, and can earn crores for the Chandigarh administration or exchequer.
It is pertinent to mention here that the same auction house through several auctions in 2014 and 2013 has earned approximately `6 crore from auctioning city’s heritage furniture items.
Despite several quarters highlighting the issue, the lone move so far by the UT administration to preserve the heritage furniture has been to ask all institutions to form an inventory of such items with them. This too was announced way back in 2011 and nothing much has been done since.