A high-voltage drama over an abrupt change in the name of an under-construction auditorium in Wanowrie began on Tuesday night and ended late on Wednesday night with the place finally going back to its original name as a result of public pressure.
The construction of the auditorium has been underway since 2003, and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had passed a proposal to name it the Mahatma Phule auditorium. Then, on Tuesday night, a new name was displayed on the building, that of Savitribai Shivarkar, the mother of former Congress MLA Chandrakant Shivarkar.
Seeing a different name displayed at the auditorium, residents got angry and complained to Mayor Vaishali Bankar.
Bankar said when she became aware of the whole issue, she immediately sent orders to do away with the changed name and display the original one.
“I was getting constant complaints from residents saying the wrong name had been displayed on the auditorium building. After I visited the spot, I got to know that it was a mistake on the part of the contractor, who had displayed the wrong name on the building,” she said. “When I issued an order, the name was removed from the building.”
Terming the whole episode “political chaos”, NCP corporator from NIBM Road Prashant Jagtap, who was present at the spot, said the name change came as a surprise as so far the place had always been called Mahatma Phule auditorium in all official paperwork.
“The auditorium is getting funds in every year’s budget in the name of Mahatma Phule auditorium. The audits have also been done under the same name. However, when residents noticed that the new name of Savitribai Shivarkar had replaced the original name, they made complaints with the Mayor,” Jagtap said.
Jagtap explained that a small exhibition hall located in the building of the auditorium had already been named after Savitribai Shivarkar, but someone displayed the same name on the building as well.
“No one is bigger than Mahatma Phule and so any other name would not have been accepted,” Jagtap said.
Former Congress MLA Chandrakant Shivarkar said though his family was associated with the auditorium in a big way, he had played no role in the name change.
“The entire building is taking shape because of the immense efforts put in by my son and former corporator of Wanowrie Abhijit Shivarkar. However, it was a mistake of the contractor working on the construction of the building and he displayed the wrong name. The building’s name will remain the same as was decided by the PMC,” he said.