Sena, caretakers spar over 150-yr-old museum | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Sena, caretakers spar over 150-yr-old museum

The Shiv Sena has accused conservationists of the non-government organisation INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) trust, responsible for restoration and maintenance of the 150-year-old Bhau Daji Lad Museum, of taking over the museum.

mumbai Updated: Jul 07, 2011 01:02 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

The Shiv Sena has accused conservationists of the non-government organisation INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) trust, responsible for restoration and maintenance of the 150-year-old Bhau Daji Lad Museum, of taking over the museum.

The Sena alleges that the mayor and other members of the museum trust have not been kept in the loop on the museum's functioning.

Another allegation is that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) staff working at the museum have slowly been moved out, eliminating the presence of the civic body from its premises altogether.

According to sources, at a meeting called by Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray recently, attended by Mayor Shraddha Jadhav who is the chairman of the museum trust, a plan to get the museum back from the trust was discussed. “We will soon meet to decide on a course of action,” Jadhav told the Hindustan Times.

This is not the first time that the Sena has clashed with INTACH. In 2007, when the museum was ready and waiting to be inaugurated by the president, a date could not be decided upon. The Sena simply went ahead and inaugurated it themselves.

In 2003, a tripartite agreement to form the ‘Bhau Daji Lad Trust’ to restore and revitalise the museum was signed between the BMC, INTACH and sponsor, the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. The agreement stated that INTACH would only assist the BMC in looking after artefacts and antiques for 15 years after the museum’s makeover that had been completed in December 2007.

But four years later, with Rs 20 crore released as corpus to the museum and all the civic staff working sent packing, the BMC feels cheated.

“We feel the museum has become the personal fiefdom of INTACH. We will ensure it is back with the BMC soon,” said Sunil Prabhu, Sena leader in the civic body. In May 2011, a Sena corporator RS Rahate, who is a civic law committee member, had raised the issue of museum’s functioning.

HT tried to contact Tasneem Mehta, vice chairperson of the governing council of INTACH and managing trustee of Bhau Daji Lad museum, but were unable to reach her.