A delegation of the Maharashtra government, headed by social justice minister Rajkumar Badole, is close to finalising the deal for the purchase of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s London home.
The house, which will be developed as a museum, is likely to be in the Maharashtra government’s possession by the end of May. Badole said the museum may be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The delegation also held talks with the dean of the London School of Economics (LSE), where Ambedkar studied. The institute has informally agreed to set up a chair in the name of Ambedkar, and also float two fellowships for meritorious students from Maharashtra to study at LSE. While the college will waive of their education fees, the state will support their accommodation expenses.
“The process was expedited after we visited London. We have appointed evaluators who will come up with a valuation of the property, which we will then pay to the agents,” said Badole on Wednesday. He said the state may end up shelling more than Rs 60crore for the property located on King Henry Road. The state Cabinet has already allocated an amount of Rs 60 lakh annually for the maintenance of the museum, said Badole.
The government plans to convert some floors of the three-storey house into a museum and is planning a public library and an accommodation for meritorious students in the building’s basement. However, the details will be finalised only after the property is in the government’s possession, Badole said.
The house was put on the market for a minimum price of 3.1 million pounds last year. A private developer had placed a bid and completed initial formalities for it, but Santosh Dass, president of Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations, UK, alerted Maharashtra officials, who then stepped in to buy the property.