Patna Science College plans to install foundation pillar, build new library
Ninety-four-year-old Patna Science College, once famed for its cutting-edge laboratories and academic aura, may soon get a commemorative pillar in its campus marking the foundation of the historic institution in 1927.
Dotted with iconic heritage buildings in a sprawling campus, the college was formally inaugurated on November 15, 1928, by the then Viceroy of India Lord Irwin.
The institution has been annually celebrating its foundation day on November 15. However, on Monday, which marked its 94th birth anniversary, no commemorative events were held.
Dr Shree Ram Padmadeo, Principal of the college, said the anniversary day event may not have been held but "bigger projects" are on the anvil.
"We have conceived a foundation pillar which will depict the inception of the institution in the 1920s. We are consulting faculty of the Patna College of Arts and Crafts, and the pillar will have four faces, portraying elements to signify various departments. The main administration building will also be depicted on it," he told PTI.
The two-storied main administrative block of the sprawling campus is an architectural icon, with four huge fluted Doric columns in its main facade, accentuating its grandeur. Heritage blocks also include buildings of departments of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Botany, Zoology, Geology and Statistics.
Besides, an old huge building facing the main ground located in the eastern part of the campus, houses the gymnasium.
“The foundation pillar is planned to be installed in the open space between the rear facade of the administrative block and the side facade of the gymnasium building. The idea is to incorporate symbolically all the departments in one single column. It will be a first of its kind pillar," said Padmadeo, himself an alumnus of the college.
He, however, rued that the quality of education has "significantly diminished" over the last several decades and the institution has also lost a lot of its academic sheen that made it renowned world over.
The campus too has lost its charm over the decades, with vegetation growth in the rotary facing the Chemistry Department, which once had a neat old iron chain running round it's periphery, graffiti scrawled on heritage buildings, and over insensitive architectural intervention has compromised the original beauty of the varsity.
Also, two major infrastructure projects of the Bihar government are likely to impact the campus, one being the planned link road from the under-construction Ganga Drive to Ashok Rajpath and the proposed ₹422-crore project of a double-decker flyover from Kargil Chowk to NIT More, whose foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on September 4.
Heritage lovers, experts and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) have opposed this new flyover project, and appealed to not cause any damage to heritage fabric of the area on the Ashok Rajpath, which is dotted with various old, historic institutions, including Patna College, Patna Medical College and Hospital, Science College and Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library.
Science College, as the institution is famously known as, has a legacy of producing and training some of the best minds of India and the world, bringing out excellent research and lending to the world a galaxy of intellectuals.
Its laboratories, especially of the Physics and Chemistry departments, were very advanced and a gas plant was originally set up on the college's premises to supply it to various labs.
The college's hostels -- Cavendish House, Faraday House, Newton House, C V Raman Hostel and Ramanujam Bhawan Hostel, are equally famed among its students and alumni, who are spread across India and abroad.
The over 90-year-old college is part of the historic Patna University, which completed 100 years in October 2017.
The centenary bash of the university was held in the main ground of the Science College, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the chief guest.
A decorative pillar to commemorate the hundred years of the varsity was put up in the premises of its central library, whose campus is adjacent to that of the Science College.
Padmadeo said a plan has been conceived to make an "air-conditioned multi-storey new library complex on a plot of land near the Physics Department, which will also have a hall. Books from old library located on the first floor of the administrative block, will be shifted once construction is completed".
"However, the project is in a very early stage and due approvals are needed," he said.