Providential escape for over 40 students; HoD, Principal’s presence of mind saves lives
Mysore/Mysuru: The Chemistry Laboratory of the more-than-a-century-old Maharani’s Science College on JLB Road was reduced to rubble this morning as the laboratory’s roof came crashing down, adding one more building to the list of collapsed heritage structures of Mysuru city.
What is heartening here is the presence of mind displayed by the Chemistry Department Head and the College Principal that saved the lives of over 40 students and four staff.
The dilapidated structure collapsed at 10.40 am and the visuals were captured by students standing outside the building and the video has gone viral on social media, highlighting the plight of heritage structures of Mysuru that is facing a monumental neglect by the people in power.
Six rooms dilapidated
Along with the huge Chemistry Laboratory that could accommodate over 50 students on individual tables and space to store other lab equipment, one more room attached to the laboratory too collapsed. In all, there are six rooms attached to the laboratory and all are in a dilapidated state, crying for attention for many years.
Chemistry Lab usually opens at 11 am and today at 10.23 am, Head of the Department Dr. K.K. Padmanabha entered the laboratory to oversee preparations for today’s experiments. He was taken aback as he saw chunks of mud, cement, tiles and bricks spread all over the laboratory. A section of the cleaning staff was removing the dirt from the roof.
Students, staff vacated
Asking the staff to immediately vacate the place, he alerted the College Principal Dr. D. Ravi, asking him to personally see the lab’s plight. Dr. Ravi rushed to the lab and asked all the staff and students to vacate the place and classes were suspended for two days. As soon as this process was completed, the laboratory and the neighbouring rooms were locked.
Students and four staff who were arriving for the 11 am lab work were asked to leave the premises and minutes later, the roof collapsed at 10.40 am. Principal Dr. Ravi called up Chamaraja MLA L. Nagendra and narrated the incident. The MLA who visited the spot said that the tenders to repair the building had been called for and works were about to begin but the roof has collapsed now.
Reconstruction only solution
Looking at the nature of the damage and the condition of over six rooms, it is doubtful if the dilapidated structure can withstand the repair works. College staff and engineers present at the spot said that instead of doing repairs, the building and rooms have to be reconstructed after laying a firm foundation.
As working in the present lab and also in the adjacent rooms is ruled out, the College authorities have to look for alternative arrangements when the classes reopen on Monday. “Lab equipment worth Rs. 15 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh have been buried under the rubble. As all the equipment is glass containing acids and solutions, removing and segregating the undamaged ones will be tricky,” said a source from the College.
As a precaution, four fire tenders and three ambulances were summoned to the College today and teams from Lakshmipuram Police were monitoring the situation when we went to Press.