Mangaluru: Finally after many launching date promises by ministers and other VIPs, the City Town Hall is all set to be inaugurated on 14 November 2015, but not fully completed. With about 75-80% work that will be completed by this weekend, the Town Hall will have its first program after renovation, and it will be Children’s Day celebration programme that will follow the formal inauguration ceremony this Saturday at 11am. District in charge minister Ramanath Rai and urban development minister Vinay Kumar Sorake will be attending the inaugural ceremony, along with other elected representatives. Following cultural programme by the children, there will be a Yakshagana and a Tulu drama.
While minister Ramanath Rai had promised earlier that the Town hall will be ready by October 2015 end, MCC mayor Jacintha Alfred had set November end as opening date- but then MLA JR Lobo intervened and assured that Town Hall will be all ready for Children’s Day celebration on 14 November. Although the hall will not be 100% complete, but the inauguration function will go as scheduled. According to a contractor at the site, since there would be some minor finishing work on furniture/interior etc etc, but by the end of this month the Hall will be completely done and ready to go, and would be available for rent. It is learnt the rent will be higher from next month and depending on the electricity bill, charges will be applied.
According to sources, Mangaluru City Corporation will be in charge of the maintenance of the Town Hall. Security and maintenance people will be outsourced. Murals will be showcased on the walls at the entrance and on both the sides of the stage. The cost of the renovation has come up to Rs 4.58 crore. Acoustical equipment, false ceiling, lights, stage, seats, air conditioner, generator and other amenities have been installed. Based on the artistes’ feed backs, teak wood flooring for the stage has been installed. Sophisticated lights, various facilities in the green room for the artistes, including AC, LEDs, signboard, garden outside the Town Hall and many other facilities have been added.
The renovated Town Hall will be now disabled-friendly with the erection of a ramp outside the Hall as well as inside, leading to the stage. Other facilities added are- two VIP rooms, two private rooms, dining room, modern sound-light system (so there is no need of hiring outside sound and light), Air-conditioned hall,green room, comfortable modern seats, modern western/Indian toilets/ bath rooms. In the offing are : asphalting the entire premises outside the hall, CCTVs on the premises, a generator room, parking bays and a garden.
Earlier, town hall had a seating capacity of 1008 seats, but the renovated hall will have only 900 seats. But provision has been made on the balcony to accommodate extra 150 chairs. According to the site-engineer, workers have been working day and night to finish most of the work by Saturday, and by this month end everything will completed. Among the many reasons for the delay is lack of trained and skilled workers to do certain jobs, also delay in procuring uniform matching color granite slabs in bulk ( since large quantity of granite slabs were needed to cover 10,000sq fr area, including halls and rooms), also that the granite slabs had to be shipped from Gujarath, and in between there were trucks strike, festival holidays etc -so the work slowed down.
Going back to the history of Town Hall–it was opened on December 29, 1964-it was closed for renovation in mid-September 2014. Renovation work started on October 18, 2014, in view of its Golden Jubilee. The estimated cost of renovation was Rs 3.55 crore, but as of now the cost has gone up to Rs 4.58 crore.