Maharashtra to spend ₹5.75 crore to renovate Ambedkar memorial in London
Mumbai city news: The Maharashtra government hopes to open the house to the public by August 15.mumbai Updated: Jun 13, 2017 09:48 IST
After buying the London house where Dr. BR Ambedkar lived in the 1920s, the Maharashtra government will have to spend approximately Rs5.75 crore in getting the decrepit house in shape and turn it into a memorial.
The Maharashtra government, which is getting the house repaired and restored through the deputy high commission of India in Britain, hopes to complete the rest of the work and open the house to the public by August 15.
Dinesh Waghmare, secretary of the Maharashtra social justice department, said, “The house was in a very bad condition and required a lot of work such as painting, plastering and restoring water supply. We have completed the first phase of the work, which involved basic sprucing up of the house. Work for the second phase is being tendered out.”
In the first phase of restoration, the contractor removed all floor boards from the first and second floor and fixed new ones, plastered, painted and decorated walls and ceilings, put new carpets in the hallway, renovated the toilet and kitchenette and reworked the electrical and heating systems.
The second phase will involve building a library and a study centre on the first floor of the two-storey house, a museum on the second floor and a residence in the basement to house two fellows from the London School of Economics (LSE). The fellows will also have to take on the responsibility of being caretakers of the house.
“We have restored the structure by spending 0.5 million GBP. The Deputy High Commission has informed us it will need another 0.2 million pounds for the second phase,” Waghmare said. He said a seven-member advisory committee, comprising officials from the Indian High Commission, Maharashtra government and Ambedkarite and Buddhist organisations in London, is monitoring the works.
The Maharashtra government bought the 2,050-sqft house in the Camden borough of London in 2015 after an estate agent put up the property for sale in 2014. The state government purchased the house for 3.1 million pounds — around Rs31 crore at the time of the transaction. Ambedkar lived here as a paying guest, pursuing doctoral research at LSE.
The house, with brown bricks, a white façade and a bright blue door, stands on King Henry’s Street, a quiet residential street that is a short walk from Primrose Hill at London landmark Regent’s Park. The house has a blue plaque that says – ‘Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Indian crusader for social justice, lived here 1921-22.’