Heritage furniture from Chandigarh went under the hammer at an auction on February 28 held in French capital, Paris, and was sold at Rs 60 lakh. For the first time, Ahmadabad heritage furniture was also auctioned at the cost of Rs 18 lakh. The auction was conducted by auction house Artcurial based in Paris.
Four furniture items and raw concrete lamp post designed by Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret including teak stools from Panjab University, coffee table from administrative buildings, executive desk from Punjab and Haryana high court were auctioned.
There has been a spate of auctions of heritage furniture from the city at foreign auctions houses since 2007.
The UT administration has been unable to stall these auctions as of now. Though attempts were made earlier by sending communications to the auction houses, the administration was informed that they had purchased these items from dealers and had all the required receipts.
Interestingly, most of these items were sold as scrap in Chandigarh, not fetching more than a few thousand rupees.
City advocate writes to Union minister
City-based advocate Ajay Jagga has written a letter to Union minister of state (independent charge) for culture Mahesh Sharma stating that it is an economic offence to traffic culture property out of the country.
He stated, the property smuggled or not is a matter of investigation but the property of Chandigarh administration (created by world renowned Architect Mon Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret) is being auctioned in various countries.
Such auctions are continuing for last more than a decade, in violation of Article 51 of the Constitution, as there is no resistance from any quarters.
Meanwhile these items should be declared artefacts/art treasure, and create a museum of such articles.
Blurb: Interestingly, these items were sold as scrap in Chandigarh, not fetching more than a few thousand rupees.