Visitors to Netaji museum in Odisha sore at denial of access

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Apr 18:

At a time when the demand for declassification of files relating to the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has generated much inquisitiveness about the great leader among people, visitors to the museum at the freedom fighter’s birthplace at Odia Bazaar in Odisha’s Cuttack city are a disappointed lot as the main access route to the heritage site has been blocked for over a week for sanitation work.

The main gate of the museum at Netaji's birthplace in Cuttack has remained closed for over a week now
The main gate of the museum at Netaji’s birthplace in Cuttack has remained closed for over a week now

The main entry from Dargha Bazaar has been closed for over a week due to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-assisted Integrated Sanitation Project work on the route.

The callous attitude of the authorities not to put up signage has irked the denizens as well as the visitors. Tourists from far-flung areas had to return without being able to enter the premises through the main gate.

Though there is an alternative access to the museum via Odia Bazaar, no sign board indicating this has been erected on this route adding to the misery of the visitors. This route is normally not preferred on usual days due to traffic congestion and parking woes.

“We came all the way from Kolkata to see the birthplace of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. We were very excited to see the rare items depicting his life and times from his birth to his entry into the freedom struggle. But we are sorely disappointed that we are inconvenienced due to the sanitation and sewerage work going on in front of the museum,” a tourist said.

With the gate locked from the front, visitors are returning disappointed.

Apart from tourists from within and outside Odisha, international visitors too are finding it difficult to have access to the museum in the absence of proper signage providing much-needed information to them.

While there has been no official communication on the completion of the drainage work, sources in the know said it could take another week or more to complete the work as it is only half way through, sources said.

The birthplace of Netaji has witnessed a footfall of at least 100 people on an average in the last few months. Interestingly, the attendance grew to over 150 in the last fortnight after the debate over declassification of files on Netaji’s death. The undeclared temporary closure of the route has contributed to a significant fall in the number of visitors to below 30-40 a day, thanks to the authorities at the helm of affairs.

Artifacts collected from several sources related to Netaji’s spiritual beliefs find place in the galleries. The museum has 15 galleries displaying books, periodicals, rare photographs, artifacts, household articles of Netaji from his childhood to his INA days. It has over 1,000 exhibits ranging from personal items, rare letters, manuscripts and documents from different stages of his life.

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