While the decrepit condition of the iconic Dinanath Mangeshkar auditorium – and its long-pending renovation – is old news, the civic body has now got a valuable insider’s view on how to finally go about the renovation work.
The deplorable condition of the auditorium has now caught the attention of Marathi actors who stage performances there. Noted Marathi film actor and theatre personality Prashant Damle even met BMC officials and the Standing Committee chairman recently to pass on suggestions for the renovation of the arena.
If Damle’s suggestions are to be incorporated, the cost of the renovation would go up considerably. But going by sources, the civic officials are game. An official revealed that the civic body would begin work on the delayed project as soon as possible.
“There have been several complaints from viewers who visited the place, and the continuous leakages inconvenience them greatly. Despite several inspections last year, not much headway was made into the renovation work,” said an official.
Damle visited the auditorium on Wednesday with Standing Committee chairman and Shiv Sena corporator Rahul Shewale. “The actor has some suggestions for the renovation of the auditorium. We have put together a list, and will incorporate them in the work.
Already a contract worth Rs 1.90 crore has been given for repairs in the building, but these suggestions would raise the cost. We don’t want to inconvenience the guests who frequent the auditorium, and would complete the work as soon as possible,” said Shewale.
Damle has suggested that the staircase to the entrance be shifted, so that props used for the plays can be taken directly to the stage.
He also advised that the store room be converted into a makeup room, the ticket counters be shifted to the ground floor, and the space created be used for a conference room, lifts be installed in the building, modifications made to the cafeteria. He also advised for the upgrade of toilets and bathrooms, and the addition of an emergency exit.
“We have only jotted down the requirements and would have an estimate prepared accordingly. We are wondering whether we should invite new tenders or just add to the existing one. But repair work would begin soon. The designs would be changed and the parking space would be increased at the back of the building,” informed municipal architect Nutan Ghotge.
An official from the BMC said, “Some months ago, after one of the senior officials from the state’s Election Commission visited the site, he wrote a letter to the mayor and additional municipal commissioner.
Both of them then visited the hall and instructed that work be started on it. But nothing happened thereafter. Even MLA Ravindra Waikar wrote a letter to the commissioner, mentioning that the concrete was crumbling and that the amenities were not being maintained well. Even the toilets were not cleaned regularly.”