Chandigarh, May 26
As many as nine heritage items from the UT, which were taken abroad in an illegal manner, have been auctioned for Rs 1.17 crore in the US.
Ajay Jagga, a member of the Heritage Items Protection Cell of the Chandigarh Administration, said the auction was held in New Jersey on May 12 and the costliest item, a floor lamp, was sold for Rs 22.93 lakh.
The artifacts included a pair of cross-arm office chairs, a set of two office cane chairs, a set of lighting desk and chair, a daybed, a floor lamp, a set of desk and office cane chair, a set of eight office armchairs, an easy armchair, and a set of four low stools. All heritage artifacts were designed by Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier.
In a letter to the Consul General of India in Chicago, Jagga stated he was submitting the communication for the protection/return of Indian heritage, as per the mandate of the Constitution of India. This was in continuation of an earlier communication.
On May 12, an auction house in the US, RAGO, auctioned off nine articles of Chandigarh, which were of heritage value, he said.
In fact, the heritage artifacts were being auctioned regularly in foreign countries without any resistance from the Government of India. Interestingly, the auction houses were now declaring the source of the heritage articles. In the present auction, the auction house announced that a chair was from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, he said.
“The aim is to work out an appropriate action plan so that Chandigarh’s heritage cannot be taken beyond the boundaries of India, and those that are taken abroad illegally, their auctions be stopped through diplomatic channels and further brought back, as these were taken out of India in an illegal manner,” he added.
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