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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Artistes demand structural audit of 14 auditoriums in Pune

We demanded a structural audit of 14 auditoriums in the city, including interiors, exteriors, electrical systems and fire safety, says official

pune Updated: Mar 29, 2019 16:23 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Audit has never been done at the Balgandharva Rangmandir.
Audit has never been done at the Balgandharva Rangmandir.(Rahul Raut / HT Photo)

On March 23, Saturday, PMC employee Vijay Mahadik, 45, died setting up the Yashwantrao Chavan auditorium, for a play. The Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad, Kothrud branch, immediately petitioned the PMC commissioner and the mayor of Pune, Mukta Tilak, to conduct an audit of auditoriums in the city. The PMC has responded by launching a structural audit of 14 auditoriums in the city, based on popular use.

“We held a meeting with the estate department of PMC. We are talking about safety of stage paraphernalia like lights and wings. We will have to divide the work among officials based on old and new auditoriums of the city. We will be calling in artistes for a joint meeting that will be held in the first week of April, 2019,” said Anil Mule, deputy commissioner( estate and theatre), PMC.

Sadashiv Laigude, working superintendent , PMC, said, “This will be the first time that there will be a structural audit done for the auditoriums. There has always been a sanction in the budget for renovation of auditoriums.”

“ We demanded a structural audit of 14 auditoriums in the city, including interiors, exteriors, electrical systems and fire safety. If they do not work on the proposal immediately, we will protest until our voices are heard,” said Sunil Mahajan, president, Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad, with reference to the written letter submitted by the parishad to the authorities.

The parishad, in its letter, also proposes uniforms for all employees of the PMC involved with auditoriums so employees working inside the theatre can easily be identified.

“Also, PMC should consult an active theatre personality instead of getting a consultant from outside,’ the letter stated.

“It is necessary for authorities to conduct a structural audit. They should specifically check wear and tear of the auditoriums, and electrical circuits. I have been witness to a short circuit in one of the green rooms. We don’t need to wait for another incident to happen for our authorities to wake up,” said Yogesh Soman, playwright and director.

Soman suggested that authorities use its budget on a yearly structural audit, rather than spend money on decorative renovations, which is of no benefit to anyone.

“Pandit Bhimsen Joshi auditorium is a classic example of how crores of rupees have been spent in creating a dead place. The acoustics are wrongly done and hence, no one can perform there. At the Annabhau Sathe auditorium, artistes manually draw the curtains during plays. The manager there says they were waiting for a tender to be cleared, to set this right.”

Soman said that only good auditorium in the city is the Balgandharva Rangmandir which was built in consultation with veteran artist Pu La Deshpande, who had studied, in detail, the plan of a London theatre.

Director Sameer Vidhwans, too, said that a structural audit is important for all auditoriums. “There are no rules to run the auditoriums and these spaces are being taken for granted. A set of rules is essential for not only maintaining the sanctity of the theatre, but also in helping to maintain it well. Every time we perform, we see broken locks on doors, badly maintained toilets, cracks in the walls and uneven stages,” he said.

Actor Anita Date added: “Safety of every person is important. It is sad that one man had to die to bring the state of the auditorium to the limelight. Authorities should work on improving the auditoriums and actually show the work done in reality.”

Auditoriums in the city under audit

Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, Kothrud

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial hall, Camp

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Sanskrutik Bhavan, Mangalwar peth

Balgandharva Rangmandir, Jangli Maharaj road

Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Sabhagruha, Bibwewadi

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi kala mandir, Aundh

Balasaheb Thackeray Kaladalan, Swargate

Maulana Abdul Kalam Memorial Hall, Koregaon Park

Mahatma Phule Sanskrutik Bhavan, Bhavani peth

Kranti Jyoti Savitribai Phule Smarak, Ganj peth

Annabhau Sathe Sanskrutik kala mandir, Yerwada

Rajeev Gandhi e-learning school, Vijay Tendulkar Natyagruha, Parvati

Ganesh Kala Krida Manch, Swargate

Mahatma Phule Sanskrutik bhavan Wanworie

The accident

In a fatal accident that took place on March 23 at 2 am, a lever holding up the stage wings of the Yashwantrao Chavan auditorium fell on Vijay Mahadik (45). Mahadik, a PMC employee working at the auditorium, died in the mishap. Mahadik is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 16:22 IST