Correspondent

Rs. 4 crores spent on its renovation three years ago

Many organisations make complaints in vain

Air-conditioners not functioning from February

BHUBANESWAR: An ad hoc attitude of the Department of Culture over repair of the air-conditioners at Rabindra Mandap auditorium here has pushed the audience, guests and hosts of various events into painful conditions during the ongoing sizzling summer days.

Even Culture Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, who comes to the auditorium very often to inaugurate different cultural events, has not been spared by his department.

Ironically, Rs.4 crores was spent on renovation of the mandap, the best and the biggest in the capital barely three years ago.

The renovated auditorium was opened for public in March 2008 by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Ever since it was opened, there have been continuous complains from the hosts about poor light, sound and sitting arrangements but to no avail.

The air-conditioners went out of order in February last and the hosts, who used to book the auditorium keep on complaining to the caretaker.

Even the Orissa Natya Sangha, the confederation of theatre organisations of the State, lodged a complaint with the Culture Minister.

Meeting held

The Minister assured it of taking up the matter immediately but he was apparently rendered helpless by his department.

Following bitter criticism in the local media, the department called a meeting on March 20 last to find out the agency responsible for maintenance of the air-conditioners. The meeting was attended by representatives of the IDCO (Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa) that has taken up the renovation and GED (General Electricity Division) besides the department's officials. While IDCO officials argued that GED has to take up the maintenance, the GED is yet to make an estimation of the work, according to sources in the department.

Meanwhile, several cultural organisations have been contemplating suing the department in State Consumers' Redressal Forum for its failure to provide service to the customers.