Despite repeated reminders, Dispur sitting over Rs 48 lakh planetarium proposal
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Sept 13: It was in 1989 that the Guwahati planetarium began to come up at an estimated cost of Rs 4 crore, with ONGC contributing Rs 1 crore and the State government contributing the rest for the construction.
A part of the project was an Astronomy and Space Science gallery that was to be set up in a hall of around 1,500 sq feet. Twenty six years later, the hall now resembles a storehouse, often given on rent for meetings and other such purposes. Chairs and tables lying randomly in the hall are literally gathering dust.
Sources said a proposal was prepared for setting up of the gallery at an estimated cost of Rs 48 lakh. Despite repeated reminders from planetarium authorities, the State government has been dillydallying over sanctioning the funds.
The proposed gallery was supposed to be the first such facility in the country that would have given visitors a tour of the galaxy and celestial objects through various exhibits.
“The government gets an average monthly revenue of Rs 3 lakh collected from visitors. If the project comes through, it will be a boost to space science in the State and be of immense help to students,” says the planetarium’s curator Babul Das.
Even since its construction, very little has been done by the Science and Technology department to upgrade the planetarium, one of the prime attractions for visitors to the capital city, besides students.
The planetarium was an attempt to reach the young and scientifically inclined minds and provide them a glimpse of the available treasure trove of knowledge about the Universe, assembled over centuries by scholars. Apart from the regular sky watching sessions conducted by experts at the planetarium, special shows projected on a dome-shaped overhead screen is a regular feature of the planetarium. It has to be upgraded with the times and relentless march of space science, but the State government has shown little vision to fulfill this need.