Museum dept seeks relief from govt to restore Roerich paintings

Museum dept seeks relief from govt to restore Roerich paintings

The department of museum has sought a 4G exemption under Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act to expedite restoration of nearly 250 Svetoslav Roerich paintings languishing in a dank room for several years.

The Department of Archeology, Museums and Heritage plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Intach Chitrakala Parishath Art Conservation Centre (ICKPAC) to also restore and conserve the paintings at Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG).

The department is currently awaiting clearance from the Finance Department for the revised estimate for restoration. According to the earlier proposal, ICKPAC, a not-for-profit organisation, was to take up the project for Rs 65 lakh.

Preparing MoU

With the department even preparing an MoU to this effect, the project cost has been revised to Rs 1 crore.

"We are forced to submit a revised estimate after the GST (implementation)," Commissioner for Archeology, Museums and Heritage T Venkatesh said.  

"When 18% GST is applied, the cost goes up by more than Rs 1 crore. We have also asked for 4G exemption to expedite the project and are currently waiting for the Finance Department's approval," Venkatesh added.

The paintings have been in the custody of Central Crime Branch (CCB), following a legal battle over Roerich and his wife Devika Rani's property at Tataguni Estate on Kanakapura Road.

Though the paintings were restored six years ago by the Regional Conservation Laboratory (RCL), Mysuru, they began to deteriorate again having been kept in a closed dank room.

The department has asked ICKPAC to also restore as many as 32 paintings displayed at VAG and also 80 paintings displayed at the Government Museum, flanking the gallery.

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