BHADRAK: The town hall, Sahid Smruti Bhawan, of Bhadrak Municipality today stands deserted. No public meeting has been held here since it was declared unsafe in 2009.
Earlier, residents of Bhadrak town had locked the town hall demanding immediate repair of the structure. But all agitations and protests have gone unheard. The four-decade-old building is now in a shambles.
Ever since its construction in 1978, no fund has been sanctioned by the Urban Development Department for its maintenance. It is alleged that though the Municipality earned over `1 lakh per annum from the Bhawan, it made little effort to maintain it.
The paint on the walls has flaked, doors are either broken or hanging from the hinges and walls have developed huge cracks. The most vulnerable is its ceiling which keeps chipping off in huge blocks.
Despite the lacuna, the auditorium was much in demand in the absence of any alternative. The organisers had to literally sweat it out as the building lacked proper ventilation.
The green room did not have light or fan while the auditorium was without proper audio system and lighting arrangement for cultural functions.
The age-old wiring system was sagging while nearly 50 per cent of the chairs in the hall were broken. The toilets were better avoided while the pipelines had broken. Besides, the fourth floor of the building was completely damaged.
The building is now crumbling, courtesy lack of political will and poor maintenance.
The Bhadrak Municipal Council had a few years back submitted a budget estimate of `1.5 crore to the Urban Development Department for modernisation of the building.
Bhadrak Municipality Chairman, Manas Mohanty, said there is a ray of hope for the Bhawan with the State Government agreeing to facelift plans. “We have recently managed to get `1 crore sanctioned from the Urban Development Department.
The local MLA has agreed to provide the remaining amount for complete renovation of the Bhawan. Besides, the Bhadrak Municipality has managed to get 99 years of lease of the land on which the Bhawan in situated,” he said.
The Bhawan was the brainchild of freedom fighter and first chief minister of Odisha Harekrushna Mahatab.