As the 93-year old Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) has begun repair works on the heritage building of the Printing Press on its premises, employees of BORI claim that the repairs are illegal and the institute has not sought the civic body's permission to undertake any such work.
Repair works at the Printing Press building in the institute.Pics/Vivek Sabnis
Members of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), who run the employee union of BORI, said that they are against the illegal construction undertaken on the institute premises and have raised the issue with the executive committee of BORI. An employee of the institute, Abhijeet Bagade, said, "This is a heritage building and we will not allow any illegal repair work to be done here."
Ruined? Books published by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
gather dust, while many of them have been destroyed by termites
Head of BORI modernisation cell, Anant Gogate, said, "We are not touching the original building of the Printing Press that was constructed in 1933, but the adjoining portion of the building that was constructed later. We have not violated any rule as the walls that were razed are not part of the original structure."
Honorary secretary of BORI, Dr Maitreyee Deshpande, said that they had sought permission from the Pune Municipal Commission (PMC) to undertake repair works in the building, the Printing press, the Tata Hall and the Nizam Guest House. She said that the PMC officials might have missed the mention of the Printing press, while granting the permission for the other two buildings.
"They (PMC) have verbally given us the permission for undertaking repair works in the Printing Press building, but we are yet to receive an official letter from them," she added. According to Deshpande, the civic body has no objection to repairing the Printing Press building.
Shyam Dhawale, civic body Head of Heritage Cell, said, "It is true that an official letter for the repair work at
the Printing press has not been issued, but we are in discussion with the institute about the same."
Books in bad shape
The books printed by the institute's printing press are reportedly gathering dust, while many of them are being destroyed by termites.
Since the Press building has been shut for the last few decades, the machinery is also in a bad condition. When MiD DAY pointed this out to Dr Maitreyee Deshpande, the honorary secretary of the institute, she assured that the books and the printing material would be shifted to another room soon.