Mysuru: Maharani College's Chemistry lab building collapses just few minutes after staff vacates

There is water seepage in Botany, Microbiology, Computer Science and Zoology and most of the laboratories, said college staff
Pic credits: Edex Live
Pic credits: Edex Live

Students and staff members of Maharani Arts and Science College for Women in Mysuru witnessed the collapse of its Chemistry lab building just a few minutes after its staff vacated the building. The roof of the lab in the heritage building crashed down as there was seepage in the roof and the walls had cracks, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express. 

These seepage and cracks were brought to the notice of Principal D Ravi by the Head of the Chemistry department, KK Padmanabha, around 9.45 am. Sensing danger, the principal asked the staff to turn off the power supply and lock the door of the lab. Just five minutes later, the entire lab building collapsed.

How did it happen?
Sharing the details, the Principal said, "When HoD Padmanabha called me, I went to the lab to inspect the damage around 10.25 am along with three other lecturers. I clicked pictures of the plaster which was peeling off from the ceiling on my cellphone and returned to my chamber. I immediately called MLA L Nagendra and requested him to take up repair works. But within minutes, the building collapsed."

In a helpless situation for failing to carry out the repair works of the heritage building, Ravi informed that damage was noticed earlier but approval from the Heritage Committee was needed. "The government had sanctioned Rs 2 crore for renovation. In fact, the Bhoomi puja was scheduled to be held on Saturday (October 22)," he added.

Additionally, a chemistry lecturer told The New Indian Express that she along with three other staff members were in the lab in the morning. After noticing plaster falling from the ceiling, they left the room. 

What now?
A two-day holiday has been given to the students and staff. But, however, the students will resume their classes in the new building with 25 rooms. Further, Ravi said, "The Deputy Commissioner, who heads the Heritage Committee, will have to decide on whether the old building needs to be renovated or demolished."

Historian and Heritage Committee member Echanuru Kumar told The New Indian Express that the committee conducted an inspection of Maharani's College in 2017 and recommended urgent repair and renovation work. "We submitted a report five years ago, but no work was still been taken up. The irony is that from the past 40 years, no heritage structure has been taken up for restoration work," he said.

College history...
The college building, built by the Wadiyars, has 3,850 students, 350 faculty members, 50 office staff and 30 undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) departments. College authorities claim that laboratory equipment worth Rs 40 lakh was crushed under the debris.

Tracing the history of the college, Kumar said the college was constructed by Wadiyars. Among the illustrious personalities who have visited the college are Rabindranath Tagore who addressed the students in 1919 and Sarojini Naidu. Mahatma Gandhi's daughter-in-law Saraswathi Gandhi is an alumnus of the college.

Any other problems?
There is water seepage in the Botany, Microbiology, Computer Science and Zoology and most of the laboratories. Every day, the staff pumps out 10 buckets of rainwater from the Computer Science lab room, the staff said. 

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