Maharashtra to buy Ambedkar's bungalow soon

Team to seal deal; plan to develop museum-cum-memorial

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:08 pm IST

Published - April 23, 2015 10:27 pm IST - MUMBAI:

The Maharashtra government has taken the first steps for buying the bungalow in London where B.R. Ambedkar lived while pursuing his higher education.

A three-member delegation, comprising Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole, Minister of State for Social Justice Dilip Kamble and the Principal Secretary, left for London on Thursday to finalise the deal.

The government announced in January that it would buy the iconic 2,050-sq.ft, three-storey bungalow on 10 King Henry Road, NW3, and convert it into an “international standard museum-cum-memorial”.

Mr. Badole said the delegation would be in London till April 29, after which he would announce the date of purchase. Before leaving for London, he told presspersons that the team would pay a visit to the building and finalise its price, now put at Rs. 40 crore. “We will work to ensure that no technical difficulties arise. After that, we will make a formal announcement of the purchase,” he said.

The delegation will hold a discussion with Indian High Commissioner Ranjan Mathai, and Indian solicitors will meet their London counterparts. The delegation would seek the help of the London Buddhist community.

The Minister will hold discussions with the London School of Economics and initiate a process to constitute an Ambedkar Chair at the prestigious institution, where Dr. Ambedkar pursued education during 1921-22. The Maharashtra government had sanctioned Rs. 5 crore for the appointment of a solicitor and a surveyor, he said.

The State government indicated its interest in purchasing the bungalow in January after the BJP sought the Centre’s assistance in securing the historic building. The same month, State Education Minister Vinod Tawde visited London and announced that the government would buy the house.

Over the years, the six-bedroom terrace house has been converted into a one-bedroom garden flat and a five-bedroom maisonette. A blue plaque at the entrance commemorates Dr. Ambedkar’s stay. The previous NCP-Congress government had approached the Centre for its green signal for the purchase, and raised the issue with the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai. However, there was no follow-up.

Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, has welcomed the government’s move and suggested that the State utilise the house as a hostel for students from Maharashtra who travel to London for academic purposes.

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