The Wright Auction house in Chicago (US) again on Thursday held an auction of heritage furniture items from Chandigarh. Of the five furniture items designed by Le Corbusier's cousin Pierre Jeanneret and belonging to the city were put up for auction, four were sold, making the auction house richer by $30,625 (Rs 18.37 lakh).
The furniture that was put up for auction included eight armchairs, a pair of lounge chairs and two dining tables from cafeteria in Panjab University (PU). Till 2013, the auction house has held 234 such auctions for selling heritage furniture belonging to the city and has earned more than Rs 10 crore. The furniture that was making the auction house richer was discarded by the UT administration officials. It was only after auction houses based in foreign countries started auctioning the heritage items did the UT officials wake up to the importance of this furniture.
Even now such heritage furniture in need of repair is dumped in different government buildings, but no steps have been taken by the administration to preserve these items. City lawyer Ajay Jagga, who for long has been questioning the auction of city's heritage furniture, has recently filed an appeal with the administration seeking a check on those who sold the heritage furniture as junk. Once identified, action should be taken against such people, he demanded.
Jagga says, “I have demanded registration of FIR against unknown people/companies under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act for causing wrongful loss to the Chandigarh administration and for failing to protect the national heritage.”
Items that went under hammer
Two dining tables from cafeteria at PU: $10,000 (Rs 6 lakh)
Four armchairs: $8,750 (Rs 5.2 lakh)
A pair of lounge chairs: $11,875 (Rs 7.1 lakh)
Total worth of furniture auctioned: $30,625 (Rs18.4 lakh)