BMC’s 1.5 century old ‘seal’ of approval on all official documents

BMC’s 1.5 century old ‘seal’ of approval on all official documents. — IANS

Mumbai, Oct 23 (IANS) One of the treasured possessions of the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s Secretariat is one-and-half century old “seal machine” that is used to affix the seal important official documents of the country’s richest and Asia’s biggest civic body, an official said here on Monday.

The quaint, heavy, stylish but efficient ‘seal machine’ must stamp all important papers, especially tenders and documents without which the civic contract does not become valid, and that ‘stamp’ is imprinted by this unique machine, said BMC Secretary Sangeeta Sharma.

The British-era ‘seal machine’ is kept safe and secure in her office, mounted on a large wooden table with a large iron beam with two iron spheres on either side. The heavy beam with the iron spheres is placed atop the ‘seal machine’, the important document to be ‘stamped’ is placed in a narrow iron slot in the lower part of the machine, and the iron beam is rotated once in a clockwise direction.

Lo and behold…! Both the iron sections of the plates below are pressed against each other and the document gets a beautiful, sharp print of the BMC’s official ‘seal’ – all within a few seconds.

“This machine has been working non-stop for the past almost 150 years in the BMC headquarters… sealing many critical papers. As per the customs, this machine shall be worshipped on the auspicious occasion of the Dassehra to express our gratitude,” said Sharma.

The machine was manufactured by a London company in 1874, and has been used continually since then to stamp’ important contracts, tender papers and other documents, especially those pertaining to payments.

Besides the seal machine, the BMC Secretariat has preserved many important documents, like the Minutes of the first BMC meeting held in 1873.

The civic body, which runs the country’s financial capital, has an annual budget of Rs 54,000 crore, bigger than many small states in the country and is the biggest local self-government body in Asia.

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