Green activist threatens to sue Victoria Memorial authorities

Green activist threatens to sue Victoria Memorial authorities

Victoria Memorial in Kolkata

"I am planning to move the court against the authorities of Victoria Memorial under Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act," environment activist Subhas Dutta said.

The grease was used to help the revolution of the Angel of Mercy, a 1,300 kg Italian bronze statue that stands atop the central dome of the marble edifice.
Serving as a weathercock since the Memorial's inauguration in 1921, the statue, however, stopped revolving since 1985.

After Dutta moved the Calcutta High Court in 2005, the authorities managed to get the statue revolving again, but it got stuck for the second time.

Dutta, who has already filed a PIL against the Memorial authorities seeking a green belt around the heritage edifice, claimed that the weight of the fixed statue was causing the grease to spill.
"This is sheer negligence. The grease would not have trickled had the statue continued revolving," he said.
Curator of the Memorial Chitta Ranjan Panda said the Archaeological Survey of India would soon begin work to stop the spill. "They have already examined the dome and will start the work shortly."

Planned by Lord Curzon to commemorate the 25th year of Queen Victoria's rule, the Memorial was designed by the then president of the British Institute of Architects Sir William Emerson.
Spread over 65 acres, the Indo-Saracenic style edifice is built with Markana marbles brought from Rajasthan. It has a great central dome clustered by four subsidiary octagonal canopies.

Now a museum and major tourist attraction, the Memorial has developed spots and cracks at several points on its external walls which, according to the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), is a result of environmental pollution.
The NEERI fears that constant exposure to atmospheric pollution and rain could compromise the long-term load-bearing capacity of the marble blocks, besides threatening the aesthetics of the building.
Dutta, who has already filed a PIL seeking a green belt around the Victorial Memorial building, said that the NEERI had also recommended creation of a green belt of over a 50 to 60-metre radius surrounding the main structure.
In the course of the PIL's hearing, the authorities, however, submitted that creation of the green belt would obstruct air flow

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