In a bid to save the heritage bungalow belonging to Homi Jehangir Bhabha from being auctioned, Indian scientists and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) employees have joined hands.
Bharat Ratna Professor CNR Rao has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to stop the auction of the house of the father of the Indian nuclear programme.
Bhabha’s sprawling bungalow, Mehrangir, located in posh Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, is slated to go under the hammer on June 18.
Some have even offered part of their own salaries to retain the house.
Former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar has also sought a stay on the auction.
Earlier, the Bombay High Court had declined to stay the auction. The Court said even if the auction takes place before the next hearing, it can be revoked, if required.
Two employees of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) had moved the Bombay High Court seeking to stop the auction of the bungalow.
The petition was mentioned before the bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice MS Sonak which posted the hearing for June 23 but refused to grant a stay on the auction.
The bungalow, having a built-up area of 13,953 square feet, lies on a plot measuring 17,150 square feet. It is currently under the custody of National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA). A reserve price of Rs 257 crore has been fixed for the auction.
BARC employees Prakash Worlikar and Ram Dhuri, who are members of the National Federation of Atomic Energy Employees (NFAEE), have sought court’s direction to NCPA to stop the auction.
The petitioners also pleaded that the bungalow should be kept in tact by the state or the central government and house a nuclear exhibition centre or museum.
The employees have even approached Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of the Tata group, to save the landmark three-storey bungalow from going under the hammer.
They have also started an online campaign to garner public support and prevent the auction.