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Shortage of fund, staff pushes museums in state on the brink

Museum officials across the state said that there were only 70 regular staff out of the total sanctioned strength of 280 for all the museums in the state.

patna Updated: Jun 09, 2019 14:01 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Suraj Narayan Singh museum,Brij Bihari museum,shortage of staff
Several museum employees have not been paid in over eight months. (Sanjeev Sharma/HT Photo)

Several state government museums in Bihar are facing the threat of closure due to non-payment of salaries to both government employees on payroll, as well as contractual and daily wage workers employed by the museums.

Six such museums, including Brij Bihari museum and Suraj Narayan Singh museum in Patna, and one each in Saharsa, Munger, Muzaffarpur and Madhubani have already shut down, while others are barely opening for visitors due to acute shortage of staff.

Museum officials across the state said that there were only 70 regular staff out of the total sanctioned strength of 280 for all the museums in the state. In the absence of regular staff, the department of art and culture had engaged about 100 employees on contract or daily wage basis. However, those entrusted with the task of keeping the museum premises clean have not been paid their wages for the past eight months.

Officials said that in the absence of the required strength, one assistant curator has been given the charge of up to four museums, located at the far off locations from his current posting. There are only seven assistant curators to look after 22 museums, while one dedicated assistant director is looking after the historic Patna Museum.

“It is unfeasible to look after museums located about 200-300 kilometres from one location. Gardeners and sanitation workers have stopped coming to the museums, as they have not been paid their remuneration since October last year. Contractual employees are awaiting payment as well as they have not been paid their salaries after March this year,” said an assistant curator.

Ravi Manubhai Parmar, principal secretary, art and culture department, could not be contacted for his comments. Pramod Kumar, minister of art and culture department, said that he would review the condition of all state museums and necessary action would be taken to ensure payment of salaries soon.

First Published: Jun 09, 2019 14:01 IST