There is little scope for expansion at Wellington House to set up additional facilities

The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) was established to tell the story of civilisation through the exhibition of artefacts, performance of tribal and folk arts, and to preserve the diversity of Indian culture.

But even 13 years after coming into existence, the IGRMS, which is the southern regional centre of the National Museum of Mankind, Bhopal, is finding it hard to meet its lofty objectives.

There is little scope for its expansion in the current location to set up additional facilities.

Boxed in

The IGRMS, located at Wellington House on Irwin Road, was established in 2000. “Though Wellington House is ideal for housing the museum, the institution is boxed in by the busy Irwin Road on one side, a parking lot on the other and buildings behind it. There is no way we can think of expansion,” said J. Vijaymohan, officer in charge of IGRMS.

Though the IGRMS has sought land from the government, nothing has transpired so far and the available plot shown to them is 10 to 15 km away from the city and not easily accessible to the public.

“Locating the museum far from the city defeats the purpose of establishing it,” said Mr. Vijaymohan. The museum needs open space to construct a mini-amphitheatre and a spacious place to display artefacts.

Space at expo ground

But, as none of the plots meet the criteria, the State government mooted the idea of offering space at the Dasara exhibition ground.

Incidentally, the State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums is also located on the sprawling exhibition ground. It was also mooted that the exhibition could be located at the Kannada Karanji Complex, which is a permanent structure on the northern side of the ground.

However, the complex belongs to the Public Works Department, which has sought a monthly rent of Rs. 2 lakh a month. Add the maintenance cost, including electricity charge and security, and the rent will easily be around Rs. 3 lakh a month. “This is too much for a non-profit organisation,” Mr. Vijaymohan told The Hindu.

Wellington House, which was constructed in the 1790s, was leased to the IGRMS for Rs. 1 per annum for 33 years. Relocating to the new premises and paying Rs. 3 lakh a month was unviable, he said.

Ironically, of the various plots identified to relocate the IGRMS, the Dasara exhibition grounds, which is close to the zoo and palace, is said to be ideal given the high tourist turnout at these places.

The IGRMS is best known for its interactive workshops where people from in and around Mysore learn from tribal and folk artistes various art forms, most of which are on the verge of extinction.

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