The Director (Antiquity), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), has directed the Commissioner of Customs, All Customs Exit Channel (Air and Seaports), to prohibit the export of heritage furniture of Chandigarh.
Ajay Jagga, member of the Heritage Protection Cell, said: “Since the ASI has refused to act in the matter on the pretext that these items are not antiques (100 years old), our furniture was being smuggled regularly to other countries and smugglers and auction houses are earning millions.”
Jagga said he had been writing and interacting with all agencies meant for the protection of heritage such as the Ministry of Culture, Director of Revenue Intelligence, CBI (Interpol division), Intelligence Bureau, UNESCO, Ministry of External Affairs, Home Ministry, PMO, etc, with a special request to implement the orders of the MHA prohibiting the export of heritage furniture of Chandigarh.
“As such, the communication of the Director (Antiquity), ASI, has restored our hopes for complete protection of our heritage. Finally, efforts to prohibit the smuggling of our furniture have yielded results,” he said.
In a letter, the Director, (Antiquity), ASI, directed the Commissioner of Customs to take necessary action to restrict the export of such furniture since the ASI was not an enforcing agency.
As per the MHA order dated February 22, 2011, the expert committee under the chairmanship of the UT Administrator, UT, was ordered to enquire as to how heritage articles were removed in the first place and sent abroad ending up in the foreign auction; immediate working out the inventory of all original Corbusier-Jeanneret pieces held in various buildings, duly authenticated by experts and issue of prohibitory orders to stop disposals of heritage furniture.
The city’s heritage furniture had been finding way in auction houses of various countries in the past several years.
News Author : Selma SEZGİN
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