After a delay of almost a decade, the work on SPS Museum building here has been fast-tracked with shifting of artefacts being undertaken and the complex is likely to be inaugurated in January.
Angered with the slow pace of work at the museum, which has been lingering on for more than a decade, Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had recently asked the concerned agency to complete the project by November-December 2015. It took Chief Minister to visit twice to the site to ensure that the building would be completed. However the agency failed to finish it by the latest deadline too inviting the ire of higher officials. Now according to sources the building would be completed by January 2016, although partially.
The department of archives has already started shifted of artefacts into the new complex. "We have shifted 368 artefacts from the old building to the new one," said Shafi Zahid, director archives, archaeology and museums. "Some of the artieacts like major sculptures weigh a lot and we had to bring in experts to shift them from one place to another."
The department is shifting the artefacts as the Jammu Kashmir Police Housing Corporation (JKPHC), the executing agency for construction of the complex, finishes the work. Two storeys of the building have been completed which are slated to be inaugurated in January, in case JKPHC doesn't miss another deadline.
The work on the new museum complex comprises of two portions, one being the construction of building and second interior designing. The former was long completed and it was the later part that got delayed due to a number of reasons. The work on Rs 65 crore museum started in 2007 and ever since JKPHC has been missing the deadlines to complete it. The first deadline was five years ago in 2010, second in 2012 and third in 2013. According to experts had the building being commissioned before 2014, a number of artefacts would have been spared the wrath of floods.
Touted as one of the best museum buildings in India, the new complex will have all modern facilities."We got it designed so that when a visitor enters the building he starts with Burzahom exhibition and thus starts the journey that depicts the entire 5000 years of our history," said Khurshid Qadri, former Director General Archives, Archaeology and Museums and consultant to tourism and culture department. "It has galleries, internal heating and cooling system, modern audio visual display, led lighting for sensitive artefacts, multilingual display and so on."
Qadri said that once the building is commissioned, it will increase the footfall of tourists. "Every tourist coming to Kashmir wants to see our museum, but till date we had none as the old one looks more as a storage site than a museum," said Qadri while lamenting the slow pace of work at the museum. "Musuem is known as the nose of a nation and hopefully we are finally going to get it done."
With 65-feet deep foundation, the building is seismic-V resistant, fire resistant, damp proof and highly secure. Designed by local architects, the exteriors depict the traditional Kashmiri architecture whereas the interiors have state of the art facilities.