KARNATAKA

Pressure mounting on Government to name rangamandira after Pandit

OFFICIAL APATHY: The rangamandira which is under construction in Gulbarga.  



Special Correspondent

Work on rangamandira is yet to be completed though it began 11 years ago

Pandit was known for his true-to-life images of mythological characters Kannada and Culture Department writes to Deputy Commissioner on the demand to name the rangamandira after the artist The State Government has honoured him with the Rajyotsava Award

GULBARGA: The State Government is being pressured to name the rangamandira under construction here after a well-known painter, S.M. Pandit.

Dr. Pandit was known for his true-to-life images of mythological characters and portraits of personalities such as Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and the former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His paintings adorn the walls of many famed art galleries, including Raman Art Gallery in New York, Indo-British Association, Indian High Commission and Commonwealth Institute in London, New Council Hall in Mumbai, Ravi Shankar Hall and the Indian High Commission in London and Manchester.

Petitioned

Several senior artists and academics have petitioned the Government to name the rangamandira after Dr. Pandit in recognition of his contribution to the growth of classical paintings and abstracts that are losing their importance now. The Kannada and Culture Department has written to the Deputy Commissioner here seeking his views on the demand by senior artists to name the rangamandira after Dr. Pandit.

Dr. Pandit, who had the first brush with the world of paintings under the guidance of well-known art teacher, Shankar Rao Alandkar, completed the diploma examination conducted by the Madras School of Art. Dr. Pandit was a winner of the gold medal instituted by the Royal Academy in London. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. In recognition of his contribution to the field of art, the Government honoured him with the Rajyotsava Award and Gulbarga University conferred on him its honorary D.Litt in 1986. Gulbarga does not have a full-fledged rangamandira. Work on the rangamandira was taken up in the early 1990s by the Public Works Department at an estimated cost of Rs. 2 crores. The work was later handed over to the Land Army. The Land Army, which re-estimated the cost at Rs. 2.90 crores, has spent Rs. 2.33 crores on the project so far. The Public Works Department had spent Rs .48 lakhs before handing over the work to the Land Army.

Poor allocation

The delay in the completion of the project is because of the poor allocation of funds by successive governments. Sources in the Land Army told The Hindu that the Government is yet to release Rs. 55 lakhs due in its original estimate for the completion of the civil work. Apart from this, the Land Army has submitted a new proposal seeking Rs. 1.60 crore.

The project was handed over to the Land Army in 1995 and it was to be completed in two years. But the work is not completed even now.