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Fate of Erode Dist. Museum in balance

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Awaiting demolition: The Erode District Museum. —
Awaiting demolition: The Erode District Museum. —

Karthik Madhavan

Municipality plans to demolish it to give way for a five-storeyed complex

ERODE: Outside the Erode District Museum, under the sky, sits a hero, who attained the status by single-handedly tackling a tiger. In memory of him and his valour, the hero’s descendants depicted him in a stone for succeeding generations to worship.

Today, the hero faces a new challenge from Erode Municipality. The civic body proposes to demolish the building housing the museum to construct a five-storey building. The new building, according to Municipality sources, will house the Council Hall, officers of the Municipal Commissioner, Engineer, Town Planning Officer, Health Officer, among others.

The move threatens the hero, 74 others who are outside like him and a host of others who are seated inside. The new building threatens to make them homeless, for the Erode District Museum does not have an alternative building.

Started in 1987, the Museum began functioning in the present building following an understanding with the Erode Municipality for a year.

The understanding got extended by the year, and at present the Museum pays the Municipality a monthly rent of Rs. 7,000.

Though it pays such a big amount, the display area is small. According to Museum sources, “the 1,200 sq. ft. area is too small to accommodate the thousands of heros and artefacts that are in the Museum”.

Given the space constraint, most of the treasures are sleeping inside wooden boxes and cupboards. Thanks to the system of rotational display, treasures by turn see sunlight for a few months in a year.

To solve the problem, the authorities a few months ago mooted a proposal to shift the museum to a bigger place. The proposal is in the same condition just a proposal. Sources said two buildings were suggested: the building opposite the Municipal VOC Park and a wedding hall at Sampath Nagar.

Asked about the status of the proposal, Curator (in-charge) J. Mullaiarasu said no such proposal existed. In reply to a question about the demolition of the building housing the Museum and the proposed move, he said the decision would be taken by the Commissioner of Museum, Chennai.

Given the condition, it remains to be seen if the hero can manage the Municipality, the Government and its bureaucracy as successfully as he tackled the tiger.

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