The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Test the best for Bengal art
- International design competition for museum on Bypass

A competition will be held some time in the future to design the proposed ‘Kolkata Museum of Modern Art’, envisaged as an art gallery and museum of international standards — certainly the best in Asia. The museum that will showcase the best of Bengal art, besides holding international exhibitions that usually bypass the city, will come up in P.C. Chandra’s 30-acre nature park on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, opposite Science City.

Rakhi Sarkar of the CIMA Gallery, one of the 11-member trust of the proposed museum, said on Tuesday evening after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee announced the formation of the trust at Writers’ Building: “We are dreaming of a project of international standards and we have got some favourable inputs for the competition from friendly nations, such as the UK, Germany and Japan.” But, before all else, a comprehensive plan will have to be developed and several agencies tapped for funds. The entire exercise will take till the end of this year. Funds are expected from the Centre and NRIs, too, will be harnessed. “A time line cannot be given now. But the preliminary work is done and funding should not, ultimately, be a problem,” said Rakhi Sarkar.

The chief minister will be chief patron of the trust, whose chairperson will be elected soon. Among the 11 trustees are the three secretaries of the departments of higher education, commerce and industry and information and culture, commissioner of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), industrialists Y.C. Deveshwar of the ITC, A.K. Chandra of the P.C. Chandra group and B.M. Khaitan, and artists Ganesh Pyne, Paritosh Sen and Jogen Chowdhury.

Sen and Chowdhury said they used to dream of such a gallery. Now, it will be a reality. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said: “Rakhi Sarkar has made it possible with her active role as a catalyst.” The state government has allotted a fund of Rs 1 lakh, so that preliminary work can be taken up from Wednesday.

Acknowledging the chief minister’s contribution, Rakhi Sarkar said: “I think McKinsey, too, would be moved to see how fast the state government could finalise a decision.” Mayor Subrata Mukherjee welcomed the proposal.

The land of the nature park originally belonged to the CMC. It had leased it out to the P.C. Chandra group about eight years ago for a 33-year term. Mayor Mukherjee announced that the CMC will extend it to 99 years for the gallery.

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