Notice over film-shoot scars on College of Agriculture

The Heritage Cell of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has served a notice on the College of Agriculture in Shivajinagar seeking an explanation over Grade-I heritage structure of the college building getting subjected to possible damage during film shoots.

The building, which is over 100 years old, was used as a hospital by the British during the First World War and was tagged as a Grade-I structure by the PMC in 2010.

"It has been brought to our notice that certain changes have been introduced in the College of Agriculture during film shoots. It is of paramount importance that heritage structures are not subjected to any damage or their value demeaned," the notice states, asking the college administration to furnish a detailed report of changes introduced in the building at the earliest.

A Newsline team visited the College of Agriculture where shooting of a Marathi movie is under way. Some college staff on condition of anonymity pointed out several serious lapses including changing of the name board. A staffer said that two tall pillars located at the entrance to the main building were refurbished by unauthorised persons, blatantly violating procedures laid down for carrying out changes on Grade-I buildings.

It was also noticed that a dolly track used for heavy cameras on the first-floor of the heritage structure had created deep abrasions on the flooring.

Commenting on the notice, Dr AG Chandele, associate dean and principal of the College of Agriculture, said he was not aware of any changes introduced in the structures. "Any crew that uses our college campus for shooting films has to abide by rules and regulations. Apparently, everything is going on as per rules. We will respond to the notice served by the civic body after scrutiny," he told Newsline.

Head of PMC Heritage Cell Shyaam Dhavalaey said the issue of protection of the building would be taken up for discussion during official meeting of the Cell after the College of Agriculture submits its reply to the notice.

Relocation pending

More than a year-and-a-half after former President Pratibha Patil had inaugurated the new building of the College of Agricultural, the college administration is yet to relocate work from the old heritage building. College authorities said the contractor appointed for construction was yet to give finishing touches to the new building as per the contract, and furniture and other infrastructure was yet to be procured. "All these deficiencies leave the scope for raising doubts whether an empty building was inaugurated," said some students.

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