Chandigarh to seek help of French experts in preserving its 12,000 heritage items

Chandigarh to seek help of French experts in preserving its 12,000 heritage items

The UT Administration had expressed helplessness and did nothing after learning about the auction.

The Chandigarh Administration will seek help of French experts in preserving and protecting its 12,000 heritage items, which may be sold abroad for lakhs. Whether Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags have to be installed in the items or if another technology needs to be put to use will be decided in this regard.

The issue was discussed in detail in the meeting of the Chandigarh Conservation Heritage Committee (CHCC) that met after a long hiatus on Tuesday. The meeting was convened for routine agenda but the protection of heritage furniture and items designed by Le Corbusier formed a key part of the discussion. The officials discussed if there was a need to have a legal framework to preserve and protect the heritage of the city. The CHCC comprises the home secretary, chief architect, and chief engineers of the UT Administration and Chandigarh Municipal Corporation besides other key officials. The CHCC, constituted by the UT administrator, is headed by the UT adviser.

While speaking to The Indian Express, UT Adviser Dharam Pal said, “I was informed that an inventory was prepared for all heritage items and there are about 12,000 such items including chairs, heritage manhole covers, etc.”

He added, “Since the French experts are coming on May 14-15, we will seek their help and have a detailed discussion on the issue. Since they are well aware of the issues cropping up, we will ask them to help us technologically to protect the items. Now whether it is installing RFID tags in the items or any other technological help, we will ask them the same”.

Chandigarh to seek help of French experts in preserving its 12,000 heritage items
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Initially, in the meeting, a presentation was given by the Director Culture Saurabh Arora about the heritage issues in Chandigarh. In 2017, when the committee had met, they discussed preserving the manhole covers as well. As the officials were worried over theft-prone Corbusier-designed manhole covers in the city and the auction of UT’s heritage items abroad, the CHCC had even mooted that a proper inventory for these be prepared and if GPS tracking chips should be installed.

In 2014, two manhole covers were stolen from the CBI office at Sector 30A. In 2010, one manhole cover, bearing an impression of Chandigarh’s master plan, was sold for Rs 10.87 lakh at an auction in Paris. However, the UT Administration had expressed helplessness and did nothing after learning about the auction. Member of the heritage protection cell Ajay Jagga said in the meeting that there is an urgent need to check the auctions of Chandigarh heritage items abroad.

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