No lift, ramp: Maharaja’s College new auditorium to be ‘disabled unfriendly’

Though the original plan mentioned a lift and a ramp in the three-storey, Rs 10-crore auditorium, the facilities seem to have vanished into thin air in practice.
The under-construction auditorium of Maharaja’s College  | A Sanesh
The under-construction auditorium of Maharaja’s College | A Sanesh

KOCHI:  As the construction of Maharaja’s College’s new auditorium nears completion, certain deviations from the original plans have raised red flags. The idea of constructing a new auditorium was put forth by former finance minister T M Thomas Isaac, an alumnus. Though the original plan mentioned a lift and a ramp in the three-storey, Rs 10-crore auditorium, the facilities seem to have vanished into thin air in practice.

Sources said the contractor entrusted with the construction has reiterated that installation of the lift and ramp was not included in the tender. “The college has several physically-challenged students. Absence of a lift and ramp will pose hardships for them. The college seems to be inconsiderate towards their issues,” said a source. 

It is said the contractor has been asked to just leave a space for installing the lift. “It has emerged that since both the facilities have not been included in the project plan, no funds for them have been earmarked. To get the funds, the entire process of submitting the proposal and getting it sanctioned by the state government has to be repeated,” said the source, adding, “So, even after the auditorium is inaugurated, the lift and ramp will be set up at a much later date.” Three spaces have been earmarked for lifts in the building.

As per the original plan, the auditorium, with a built-up area of 3875.65 sq m, would have a separate entrance for VIPs, a lift for the elderly and physically challenged to enter the return hall, and an open-air amphitheatre. The ground floor of the three-storey building would be a parking area.  Though the aim was to make the auditorium available for private events, the absence of the essential facilities might act as deterrent, said sources. Isaac will be visiting the site on Monday.

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