| The Netaji Birthplace Museum in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das |
Cuttack, Jan. 12: The state government has decided to cough up funds needed for installing a light-and-sound system at Netaji Birthplace Museum, bringing to an end the uncertainty that had arisen after Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) refused to fund the entire project.
The system was supposed to have been in place before Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary on January 23 this year but the RSP had refused to provide any more funds, casting doubts over completion of the project.
The Rs 30-lakh project involves a 20-minute show on the life of Netaji based on a script penned by Bijay Mishra and sets designed by Asim Basu. The steel plant had provided Rs 10 lakh before making an U-turn.
Official sources said the state culture department would come up with the rest of the funds. The decision was taken at a meeting of the executive body of the Netaji Birthplace Museum Trust, over which tourism and culture minister Debi Prasad Mishra presided. Cuttack MP Bhatruhari Mahtab, department of culture secretary Ashok Tripathy and other senior officials were present among other trust members at the meeting.
“Now, that the source of the required funds to complete the project has been found, much will depend on the executing agency for making the light-and-sound system ready before the birth anniversary of Netaji on January 23,” Rabindra Kumar Kar, director, culture and Netaji Birthplace Museum’s officiating director told The Telegraph.
The Rs 30-lakh light-and-sound (son et lumière) project was drawn up after RSP said it would fund the entire project while providing Rs 10 lakh in the first phase. Tenders were invited in November 2008 and the project was awarded to a private company – Suravi Productions.Curator and museum-in-charge J.P. Das said work on the open-air gallery to accommodate 100-odd viewers has been completed. Sound arrangement involving dramatisation of the script and audio recording has also been completed with the funds provided by the steel plant. But none of the lighting arrangements had been built as RSP had not provided the rest of the money — Rs 20 lakh — needed to complete the project.
“After the decision to provide the rest of the funds was taken by the tourism department, the timeframe for completion of the project was taken up with Suravi Productions on Tuesday. They have asked for at least three months. So, we have decided to inaugurate the light and sound at the museum on Utkal Divas Day on April 1 instead of Netaji’s birth anniversary on January 23,” Netaji Birthplace Museum Trust’s treasurer and Cuttack collector Kishore Kumar Mohanty told The Telegraph today.
Museum officials said work is on to build a gallery on the people who influenced Netaji’s spiritual life and another on the freedom fighters of Orissa who were associated with Netaji by January 23.
The museum already has 13 galleries depicting different phases of Netaji’s life. Sections include his early life, student and political life, his time in the INA, Provisional Government of Azad Hind, Azad Hind Radio and National Bank of Azad Hind. The museum also has the room where Netaji was born, where the original furniture and other articles have been kept intact.