Three heritage items from Chandigarh went under the hammer in an auction in Paris last month, fetching a whopping 53,000 Euros, approximately Rs 44.95 lakh, the Chandigarh Heritage Items Protection Cell informed the Rajya Sabha secretary general in a letter on Friday, seeking action.
In his letter, Ajay Jagga, a member of the Heritage Items Protection Cell, listed the items that were auctioned and sought the “creation of rules and regulations for protection of heritage of Chandigarh” and that the “ongoing auctions are stopped through diplomatic channels and (the heritage items) brought back, as they were taken out in an illegal manner”.
Among the items that were auctioned on November 28 is a dining table that was sold for 38,000 Euros, a dirty linen basket for 7,000 Euros and a dressing table that went for 8,000 Euros. All three items were designed by Pierre Jeanneret. While the dining table had an estimated reserve price of 40,000-60,000 Euros, the other two items had reserve prices of 8,000-12,000 Euros, the letter pointed out.
In the letter, Jagga said, “I (am) submitting this communication, as an additional submission in my ‘petition for protection of national heritage (Chandigarh Heritage Articles) from being auctioned all over the world’ and earlier communications, seeking intervention from the Rajya Sabha, for making rules and regulations for the protection of heritage (specifically which is less than 75 years of age) as the mandate of the Constitution of India is already there under Article 49 in this regard.”
Heritage articles are regularly being auctioned in foreign countries without any resistance from the Indian government, Jagga added.
He also specified that his communique “be taken to its logical end, that is, creation of rules and regulations for protection of heritage of Chandigarh, so that neither it can be taken beyond the boundaries of India and the ongoing auctions are stopped through diplomatic channels and brought back, as they were taken out in an illegal manner.”
A copy of the communique has also been sent to the Judicial Police Officer, Cultural Trafficking Section, Paris, Government of France for the required action.