Ending months of uncertainty, India on Thursday sealed the deal to acquire the ownership of a three- storey bungalow here, where Dalit icon and architect of Indian Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar lived as a student in the 1920s, and will be converted into an international memorial.
Maharashtra's Minister for social justice and special assistance Raj Kumar Badole exchanged contracts with regard to the 2,050 sq ft house at 10 King Henry's Road, in northwest London, said Santosh Dass, President of the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK.
The state government had earlier announced its decision to acquire at Rs 31 crore the property, where a blue plaque commemorates the fact that Ambedkar lived there in 1921-22 when he was studying at London School of Economics (LSE), though exact amount for the deal was not announced today. The house will be "turned into an educational and cultural centre", Dass said.
"Generations of Indians in the UK and visitors studying, interested or inspired by Dr Ambedkar's key roles in furthering social justice, human rights and equal treatment issues will be able to visit. "There is a lot of work to do on the house before it can be opened to visitors," she added.
Today's deal came just three days after Badole said all related procedures will be over soon and the prime property will be handed over to the state government within the next 15 days, refuting reports that the owner of the bungalow might pull out of the deal.
"This is a historical moment for us because it is not just a house but has the emotions of all Indians attached to it," Badole, who visited London in April in connection with the house, had said.
The six-bedroom house went up for sale through an estate agent last year.
Ambedkar, who died in 1956 aged 65 was posthumously conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in 1990.