Kala Academy, the premier art and culture institution in the state, initially facing structural instability and then battered by one of the heaviest monsoons witnessed by the state, is on the verge of collapse, with temporary facelift in no way able to salvage the complex designed by internationally reputed architect Charles Correa.
A visit to the KA complex clearly revealed that the entire structure – including the open air auditorium, Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir, black box and art gallery – is presently in dismal condition and poses serious threat to the people using the same, including the administrative staff, and the students of dance as well as music classes, besides those trained at ‘Rangamel’, repertory company of the KA.
Incidentally, the state government, in context with a public interest litigation pertaining to the demolition of the KA has already informed the High Court of Bombay in Goa that it has not taken any decision to demolish the structure, further stating that the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation has sought more time to place the structural audit report of the KA before the court.
The court has also appointed Vishnuprasad Lawande as amicus curiae in the matter.
The KA management has already stopped renting out all its auditoriums and galleries to the public, and is further planning to move its dance, music and
drama classes to the Adil Shah Palace, while shifting the administrative section to the Sanskriti Bhavan.
The roof of the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir, which has been plastered many a times, is already overweighing and needs to have permanent repair.
The repertory section has cement slab of its ceiling cracking, with one piece of the slab collapsing on Monday. A number of places in this complex have their ceilings displaying corroded mild steel bars, as the pieces of concrete slab have fallen out.
The area in front of the stage forming orchestra pit at the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir is full of water, while the false ceiling of the stage is in bad condition.
A very expensive piano belonging to the western music section that has been affected by the rainwater from the leaking ceiling is presently placed on the stage with a pedestal fan drying it off.
The KA’s black box is also in precarious condition, with the floor of its control room covered with seeping water. The black carpet of the black box is all wet and the place is stinking with musty smell.
The floor as well as the ceiling of the art gallery of the complex has become damp with leaking rainwater. This leakage can anytime result in collapse of the false ceiling of the gallery.
The worst affected part of the KA complex is its open-air auditorium, which is presently covered with blue plastic sheet. The control room of this auditorium is a dangerous setting, with water and electrical wires forming a lethal combination.
The initial structural report sought by the KA management from engineering institutes in the state has already pointed out that the open-air auditorium could cave in anytime due to its structural weakness.
Although fresh structural audit report on the KA edifice is awaited, no expert is needed to spell out the present condition of this complex. It is clear that no amount of grouting or use or structural reinforcing serum would help the KA complex.
The management of this more-than-forty-year old complex now needs to immediately vacate its classes as well as the administrative section, and undertake major repairs at the earliest.
And that would be in the interest of all concerned stakeholders including lovers of art and culture.