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Ministry of Culture to organise e-auction of gifts, mementos today to mark PM Modi’s birthday

On the block are as many as 1,300 items, which include the javelin thrown by Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, which he had presented to the PM recently.

Written by Divya A | New Delhi |
Updated: September 17, 2021 7:16:08 am
Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi birthday, Neeraj Chopra, Ministry of Culture, Namami Gange Mission, Tokyo Olympics, Indian Express, National Gallery of Modern ArtPM Narendra Modi with Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra (Photo: Twitter/@Neeraj_chopra1)

To mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday on September 17, the Ministry of Culture is organising an e-auction of gifts and mementos received by the PM.

On the block are as many as 1,300 items, which include the javelin thrown by Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, which he had presented to the PM recently. Sources in the Ministry of Culture have said the base price of the javelin is expected to be around Rs 75 lakh, and that they are expecting it to fetch above crores.

The T-shirt worn by Avani Lakhera has a base price of Rs 15 lakh, while the javelin thrown by Sumit Antil and Chopra have a base price of Rs 1 crore each. Lovlina Borgohain’s boxing gloves have a base price of Rs 80 lakh while a stole with signatures of Tokyo Olympic players carries a base price of Rs 90 lakh.

The memorabilia also include sports gear and equipment of other medal-winning Olympians and Paralympians, a replica of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir presented to the PM by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and a wooden replica of the Chardham presented by Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj.

The proceeds from the e-auction will go towards the Namami Gange Mission, aimed at conserving and rejuvenating the Ganga. There are also other models of important buildings, sculptures, paintings and souvenirs that the PM received from visiting dignitaries and during important functions over the last two years.

At the last such auction held in September 2019, as many as 2,770 objects went under the hammer, including paintings, sculptures, shawls, jackets and traditional musical instruments. The proceeds from the auction were also donated to the Namami Gange Mission.

Even as there was a physical display of limited items from the lot at the National Gallery of Modern Art in 2019, officials say the auction is completely virtual this time even as it is being managed by NGMA.

Individuals and organisations can participate through the website: https://pmmementos.gov.in between September 17 and October 7. After the auction ends, the ministry will notify the highest bidders through email.

Officials added that to prevent any fake bid, an upper limit for each bid has also been fixed. In 2019, a silver ‘kalash’ gifted to the PM had received an exaggerated bid of Rs 1 crore, and was later put back for fresh bids by the Ministry “to avoid unnecessary controversy”.

Since Modi became PM in 2014, three such auctions have been conducted by the Ministry of Culture – in February 2015, January 27-April 1, 2019, and September 14 to October 24, 2019.

In December 2019, responding to a query in Rajya Sabha by BJP MP Rakesh Sinha on whether the mementos, gifts, etc presented to the PM from home and abroad have been auctioned, then Union Culture Minister Prahalad Patel had said, “A total of Rs 15.13 crore has been received from the auctions of mementos, gifts, etc presented to PM from home.”

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