Cuttack, Feb. 4: The state government’s decision to collect Rs 15 from visitors for the light-and-sound show at Netaji Birthplace Museum here has not gone down well with local residents.
The discontentment was today manifested when activists of the Congress minority cell staged a demonstration near the old jail ward No.15 of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) limits, demanding rollback of the imposition.
“We are against the collection of money for the museum show as it would be a burden on some people. The people of Cuttack have the right to enter and enjoy the show free of cost,” said Congress minority cell president, Ramzan Khan, adding that visitors paid Re 1 for entry into the museum.
The activists also submitted a memorandum to chief minister Naveen Patnaik through the district administration to highlight their plea. The chief minister had inaugurated the light-and-sound show on January 23 on his birth anniversary this year.
Official sources said already 10 light-and-sound shows had been screened since its inauguration last month. The 25-minute show on the life of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is based on a script penned by Bijay Mishra. The show focuses on different phases of Netaji’s life, right from his childhood and academic career to political struggles and accomplishments. A spiritual gallery is the centre of the attraction at the museum. Many fear that doing away with the collection fee would result in difficulties in the upkeep of the museum and maintenance of the light-and-sound shows since the cost of electricity for running the two shows every evening (except Mondays and public holidays) would be high.
“If there is no ticketing system, anyone would be able to enter the museum which could lead to security issues. However, after analysing the cost of operation, the authorities should initiate measures to at least reduce the cost of the tickets by Rs 5,” said Kulamani Rout, a resident of Buxi Bazar. Curator of Netaji’s museum J.P. Das said they would appraise higher officials of the executive committee of the Netaji museum trust for appropriate decision on the collection of the token amount for the shows.
Das also said that the demand of local residents to set up a separate ticket counter to watch the show on the other side of Odia Bazaar has been fulfilled. They had said that a separate counter would be convenient for people from Diwan Bazaar and other nearby localities, as they had to cover an extra distance of about 1 km to enter the campus to watch the light-and-sound show.