Sets kept at Balgandharva at mercy of elements

Stage material worth Rs 1 crore shifted out of basement of Balgandharva Rangmandir because of water seepage, but danger of damage still remains as it now lies exposed to rain and sun in open; civic body promises to complete waterproofing work soon

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is at the receiving end of ire from 15 different theatre groups in the city. This is because stage material of these groups, including sets, drapery, stage property and decoration material which are kept in the basement of the Balgandharva Rangmandir, were being exposed to heavy rainfall that had been lashing the city.

The material in the open, without any protection from rain or heat.
 Pic/Krunal Gosavi 

The theatre groups allege the PMC failed to keep its promise of completing the waterproofing work before monsoon because of which they have to bear the loss. They are planning to agitate before the Balgandharva Rangmandir if the leakage is not repaired soon. Now, the PMC says it will complete the waterproofing soon.

Water woes: Water accumulation in Balgandharva's  basement forced
theatre groups to shift equipment

Earlier, the underground water due to leakage reached up to the basement of the theatre that is located near Mutha river and forced the groups to remove all their material from the basement. The material now lies in the open, without protection from rain or heat.

PMC officials said the issue of leakage in the theatre was an old problem and the civic body had spent about Rs 10 lakh on the repairs of storm water drainage. Mohan Kulkarni, publicity in-charge, Manoranjan Group, said the PMC was just wasting time on the issue. "We will agitate if it doesn't repair the leaks. The sets, drapery and other material are expensive, costing about Rs 1 crore," he said.

Ashok Khome, material supplier, who has erected a shade to protect the theatre material as an alternative arrangement, said the PMC had promised Rs 5.2 lakh for making such alternative arrangement, but no money was paid. "We are worried about our sets. The PMC and the  Balgandharva Rangmandir management are not co-operating with us at all," he said.

The designers said the drapery material that was kept in tin bags was being exposed to rain and most of it was already damaged. "Will the PMC and theatre management take responsibility for this?" asked Laxman Khandare, a drapery designer.

The other side
Madan Adarei, development engineer, building and construction, PMC, said the entire work would be completed in next 15 days. "We are using the latest solution to stop seepage of water into the basement room where the sets are kept," he said. Vijay Dahibhate, ward officer, PMC, said the civic body would not pay Rs 5.2 lakh for the shelter as no such decision was taken. "Our commitment is to repair the basement," he said.

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