Agra museum not yet complete
Renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Museum in 2020, the Rs 170 crore renovation of the erstwhile Mughal Museum shows no signs of early completion
The then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had laid the foundation stone of the Mughal Museum on January 5, 2016. The decision to change its name was taken in September 2020 by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The initial cost of the project was estimated at Rs 140 crore, but now it has escalated to Rs 170 crore.
The ambitious project is located around 1,000 metres from the iconic Taj Mahal.Originally, it was planned to focus on Mughal era weapons, dresses, culture, and related activities but the Yogi government decided to widen its scope to showcase the comprehensive history of the Braj Mandal.
The museum will have indoor auditoriums and open-air theatres for programmes related to the local culture. A library on archaeology and history is expected to be an added attraction.
The UP RajkiyaNirman Nigam gave the contract to the Tatas, and more than 60 per cent work has been completed. Pre-cast concrete structures are being fabricated to speed up work on the project, according to the guidelines provided by experts from France and the UK.
Some heritage conservationists have urged the UP government to shift some of the valuable antiques and Buddha statues from the Mathura Museum to the museum at Agra.
The Mathura Museum founded by the then Collector F.S. Growse in 1874 has a rich collection of artefacts, pottery, sculptures, paintings, coins and a large number of collections by eminent colonial archaeologists.
Statues from the Kushan and Gupta periods, from the 3rd century BC to 12th century AD, are conserved there. But lack of resources and space have been major constraints at Mathura, the conservationists have argued.
(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)