Ready, but still inaccessible – Science centre eludes hills

The Telegraph

RAJEEV RAVIDAS

Kalimpong, July 30: The DGHC is is yet to open the Rs 2 crore Kalimpong Science Centre, although quite a few months have passed since it was completed.

While the outgoing chief principal secretary of the DGHC, Rajesh Pandey, claimed that the delay was on account of the unfinished electrical work at the centre, others associated with the project said there were other reasons that were holding its inauguration.

The only electrical work that remains to be done is to fix lights in the small parking area in front of the main building and, maybe, decorative lights along the footpath to the outdoor park.

Given that the centre will be open to visitors only during the day, the reason given by the DGHC authorities for the delay in its opening does not hold much water. In fact, the little electrical work that needs to be done could be completed within days.

According to sources, there was definite talk about the centre being opened some time in June by Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, but it was not to be.

Pandey, however, said although inviting the governor was pondered over, he was not approached formally.

He hinted that prevailing strife in the hills was causing the delay. But taking into account the fact that all major appointments for the centre were also done in September last year, the centre should have become operational not long after that, although the entire civil work still remained to be completed.

“We completed all civil construction work at a cost of Rs 1.27 crore by November last year and handed back the complex to the education department (of the DGHC),” said Yogesh Pradhan, the assistant engineer of the council’s Kalimpong engineering division, which executed the work.

Spread over five acres of land close to the Deolo tourist spot, the Kalimpong centre though designated as a sub-regional science centre, is understood to have exhibits which are on a par with those at regional centres.

The National Council of Science Museum, which has installed the paraphernalia at the centre, contributed Rs 1.70 crore for the project, while the DGHC’s share was Rs 30 lakh.

The centre will actually be a boon to students here as apart from the exhibits on display, such facilities are known to conduct regular educational activities like science seminars, dramas, nature study camps, quizzes etc, said Manoj Tamang, a science teacher at the local St Philomina’s School.

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