Rangamandira remains a long unfulfilled dream of DK

The long-cherished dream of having a Rangamandira, a cultural complex, in the district is yet to be realised, although the proposal is nearly four decades old.

Members of the Rangamandira Horata Samiti, which was constituted recently, have initiated a twitter campaign to draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Shashiraj Kavoor of the Samiti has tweeted the prime minister, “Though government has sanctioned the theatre about forty years back, no work has been started so far....! So we have formed an arists union of Mangalore and will be protesting on December 14th evening 3.00. Please do the needful. We Mangalorians don’t have theatre in our city even though our city is notified for smart city.”

Saga of Rangamandira

Initially, it was planned to construct the cultural complex near the University College at Hampankatta. Later, it was shifted to Urwa Market area. When the plan did not materialise, the site was shifted to Kadri Hill. The foundation stone too was laid near Kadri Park, but the building never came up because of inter-departmental dispute over the land.

After dilly-dallying over the site for the Rangamandira, finally, a 3.35-acre site at Bondel was identified and entrusted to the Kannada and Culture Department.

As per the plan submitted in 2016 at an estimated cost of Rs 16 crore, the Rangamandira will have a grand entrance showcasing the culture and tradition of the district, an air-conditioned auditorium with 1,500 seats equipped with a modern light and sound system, two lecture halls, an art gallery and an exhibition space of 750 sq mt, four guest rooms and VIP lounges and two open air theatres with seating capacity of 200 seats.

Prior to the 2016 plan, it had been proposed to construct a cultural complex at an estimated cost of Rs 24 crore, with financial assistance from the Central government under the Tagore Cultural Complexes Schemes.

As the authorities concerned failed to get the financial assistance, the previous Congress-led government decided to take up the proposal on its own funding.

Shortage of funds

The Karnataka Housing Board was released Rs 3 crore to construct the Rangamandira. Owing to shortage of funds, however, the Board did not invite tenders for the work. Now, the project cost would have escalated to Rs 20 crore, said sources.

Minister for Kannada and Culture C T Ravi said at an interaction in Mangaluru, “I was shocked when informed that a developed district like Dakshina Kannada did not have a cultural complex. The proposal for the complex will be included in the 2020-21 budget.”

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