Priceless artefacts damaged in Indian Museum renovation: CAG

Museum failed to ensure financial safeguards, says statement

September 23, 2020 11:51 pm | Updated 11:51 pm IST - NEW DELHI

House of treasures: The Indian Museum in Kolkata was founded in 1814. File

House of treasures: The Indian Museum in Kolkata was founded in 1814. File

Renovation works at the Indian Museum in Kolkata were carried out without following the necessary conservation process, leading to priceless artefacts being damaged, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has found.

A CAG statement on Wednesday said it had tabled its report in Parliament on the compliance audit relating to 37 civil ministries and departments of the Union government for 2017-2018.

Irregularities noted

On the Indian Museum, which functions under the Union Culture Ministry, the CAG statement highlighted irregularities in the modernisation project.

“Indian Museum, Kolkata awarded the modernisation work on nomination basis and executed the work without any conservation plan or preparation of Detailed Project Report and proper planning. Major works pertaining to providing modern storage system, fire-fighting, fire-detection and prevention and HVAC were not taken up though sanctioned,” it said.

The museum failed to ensure financial safeguards and monitoring of quality of work during the initial phases of the project.

Over ₹105 crore spent

“Works sanctioned at a cost of ₹83.66 crore were executed for ₹105.70 crore, with works estimated to cost ₹25.76 crore not awarded at all. Proper conservation processes were also not followed during renovation resulting in damage to priceless artefacts,” it said.

The Indian Museum, founded in 1814, is the oldest museum on the sub-continent and houses a range of antiquities, including an Egyptian mummy.

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