BENGALURU: Take a stroll along the premises here. A leaking roof, partly damaged walls and broken window panes welcome you. This is the condition of Karnataka’s first engineering campus.
The department of mechanical engineering, University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE), has been in a dilapidated condition for over a decade now.
Come monsoon and students can use only one part of their classrooms and labs. In other parts, dripping roofs create puddles of water.
The carpentry section of the department is a structure with just three walls. The fourth one has given way. As a stop gap arrangement, the staff of the college have erected asbestos sheets and other planks.
A part of the labs is also used to dump old furniture and debris of what has worn off the structure.
“This is an ancient structure that has not been maintained well. Even though sheets have been kept ready to redo the roof, there is nobody to do the work,” a staffer at the college said.
After every rain, puddles of water accumulate on electric devices in these labs, posing threat to lives of both students and staffers. “We cannot even operate PSG Lathe (a device) without cleaning it. There is a high risk of short circuit as water enters the devices through,” the lab attendant said.
The college structure is at least a century old and cries for attention. With the state government sanctioning `25 crore in this year’s budget, there is a proposal to demolish the structure and construct a multi-storeyed building instead.
Constructed as the ‘The Mechanical Engineering School’ of this college, it began functioning as early as 1917.Dr K R Venugopal, principal, UVCE, said they will soon demolish the existing structure and construct a multi-storeyed building with advanced state-of-the-art infrastructure.
According to college sources, the plan for the new building is ready, a copy of which is with Express. It now needs to be approved by the Department of Higher Education.
“At present, students are studying in structures which were once used as horse stables. They will be able to reach leaps and bounds if better infrastructure is provided,” Dr Venugopal added.
Initially named government engineering college by Sir M Visvesvaraya, it was affiliated to the University of Mysore.
This is the first engineering college in Karnataka and the fifth in the country.
UVCE later became one of the constituent colleges of Bangalore University.
Broken window panes
No wall in carpentry section
Old furniture dumped in lab
1917 — Year in which it started functioning
‘it should be renovated,not demolished’
The college is best known for its association with Sir M Visvesvaraya. Alumni and architects say the building can be renovated instead of being demolished.Satyaprakash Varanasi, architect and college alumni, criticised the plan to demolish the heritage structure.
“It is a landmark building. There is lack of proper rules to protect these structures. When the college can get it renovated by spending just D25 lakh, what is the need to invest D25 crore for a new structure?” he asked.
“Bengaluru has only a hundred such buildings left. Our focus must be on protecting these, not demolishing them,” Varanasi said.
Meera Iyer, co-convenor, INTACH, an NGO that conserves heritage structures, said, “Though it is not classified as a heritage structure, the fact that it is century old makes it important.”