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Town Hall to get a facelift

Chitra V. Ramani
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Renovation work to be taken up at a cost of Rs. 5 crore

An inside view of the Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall.— File Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
An inside view of the Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall.— File Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall on J.C. Road, an iconic landmark, will soon get a facelift. With increasing complaints about poor ventilation, broken seats, dingy interiors and a badly maintained stage, the BBMP has now decided to renovate 78-year-old building, popularly known as Town Hall.

According to sources, a project for Rs. 5 crore has been drawn up to give Town Hall a complete overhaul. The BBMP proposes to give the building a new lease of life by installing the state-of-the-art light and sound system, along with good seating facility and centralised air conditioning.

The proposal has already been sent to the BBMP’s standing committee for ward works and is likely to be given the green signal next week.

Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana confirmed this and stated that tender for the project would be floated soon.

“The BBMP will float the tender in anticipation of the approval of the council. Since the building is crying for attention, we do not want to wait for another month for the subject to come up before the council and then float the tender,” he said.

He said that the BBMP would also form a sub-committee with renowned theatre persons to guide the civic body on renovation and modification of Town Hall to suit the needs of artistes. “We will invite renowned theatre persons such as Master Hirannaiyya, Girish Karnad, Arundhati Nag and Prakash Belawadi. We will take their inputs and direct the agency chosen to implement the same,” he added.

This is not the first time that an attempt is being made to renovate Town Hall. Last year, the BBMP, which owns and maintains the building, had stopped accepting bookings beyond December 31, 2012.

However, there was no progress and the renovation plan continued to be in limbo.

Four years ago, the BBMP floated tenders to change the damaged seats at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh. However, the agency that bagged the tender wanted more money as there was an increase in the price of steel. Since the BBMP did not agree to this, the project was scrapped, a source said.

The source also stated that the BBMP was incurring a loss since the rental rate was far lesser than the maintenance costs.

“We charge only Rs. 5,000 a day, while the electricity bills sometimes run up to Rs. 1,000 a day when the hall is occupied. Once renovated, the rentals may be increased. A decision on this will be taken only after the renovation is fully completed,” the source added.

Public furore

The landmark building has been in the news for the past few days. The BBMP proposed to pledge the iconic building to avail a loan. But the proposal was dropped after much public furore and intervention of the Chief Minister.

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