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Subadh Kumar Nayak

Bhubaneswar/Cuttack: The museums in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar & Cuttack which are the vanguards of history now seem be crumbling edifices in desperate need of preservation & restoration themselves.

Netaji's Birth Place Museum and Odisha State Maritime Museum in Cuttack and Regional Museum of Natural History in Bhubaneswar have been have been pockmarked with cyclone Fani's footprints. Though the art galleries, artefacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical or scientific importance conserved in them have narrowly escaped, same cannot be said for the museum buildings & the surroundings that encased them.

Huge trees and the alluring lawns that were the centre of attraction in Jobra-based Maritime Museum have been completely damaged due to the cyclone. According to the authorities, cyclone Fani has damaged around 40 per cent of the museum's infrastructure. Fortunately however, the stored items are safe due to the ceiling even though the roof was blown away.

Owing to restoration works, the museum has been closed till next Monday.

"The entire roof of both the left and right side of the museum has been blown away while the lawn has been completed devastated," said curator of Maritime Museum, Chandra Apolo Mohanty.

Similarly, several trees including the medicinal ones were uprooted inside the premises of Netaji's Birth Place Museum during the cyclone. The beautiful park of the museum, which was considered as a crowd puller, has been battered beyond recognition. Fortunately, the priceless articles within the museum are secured.

"The museum and the valuable things kept inside it are safe. Only the trees in the Netaji Park have been destroyed," informed Jyoti Prakash Das, curator and in-charge of the museum.

On the other hand, property estimated to be around Rs 2 crores has been destroyed at the Regional Museum of Natural History near Acharya Vihar in Bhubaneswar in the cyclone Fani. While the roof of the museum has been swept away, many big trees including medicinal plants have been uprooted.

The museum has been closed until the further orders for restoration work.

"The peripheral and satellite areas of the building have been damaged. The roof has to be fixed again as it has been blown away by the cyclone. Besides, the central air-conditioning plant has been damaged severely," said Gaurav Yadav, in-charge of Regional Museum of Natural History.

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