CANACONA: Ravindra Bhavan, supposed to be a cultural hub for the culturally rich Canacona, is so near and happening but too far from becoming a reality! Yes, the name is a synonym for the Art and Culture of any given region in the State, has been badly denied and so far deprived to one of the culturally rich taluka of our State of Goa. Canacona Ravindra Bhavan!
Foundation laid by the then Chief Minister and country’s Defence Minister, late Manohar Parrikar, on 27th July’2013, in the presence of than Canacona MLA and Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar, who marked his birthday on that day, Parrikar announced than and there that the construction work on the project would commence by September of that year. “Ravindra Bhavan project would be completed within 18 months”, Parrikar had declared, implying Ravindra Bhavan, Canacona would be completed by Feb’2015. However, the irony is that by Mar’2015, +not even a Pikaxe was hit on the ground where the Ravindra Bhavan was supposed to come.
Meanwhile, even though no works commenced even in 2016, AAP, in a symbolic manner, on 27th July ‘2016, celebrated the 4th year (as the 4th birthday) of the foundation stone laid for Ravindra Bhavan while the sports minister was celebrating his birthday, for the 4th time since he became Canacona MLA and Sports Minister.
Even Tawadkar’s once colleague but then turned rival Ex –Canacona MLA Vijay Poi Khot several criticised the BJP government and particularly Tawadkar for failure to keep the promise
of constructing Ravindra Bhavan within two years of laying the foundation stone.
However, just at the beginning of the election year 2017, the improbable happened; just a day to go before the Election Code of Conduct came into effect, on 2nd Jan’2017 (for the 4th Feb’2017 elections), the actual physical construction works began on the much awaited Ravindra Bhavan has finally started on an area admeasuring 8306 sq m.
A contractor Krishna Builders from Delhi, engaged a JCM/ Excavator to excavate a trench at the site to mark the construction of Ravindra Bhavan, Canacona. The date for completion is given as 01/01/2019.
However, post-elections, soon the political equations changed, as Ramesh Tawadkar contested against BJP nominee Vijay Poi Khot and both lost badly to make Congress candidate Isidore Fernandes Canacona MLA. Soon enough, Isidore began to pursue vigorously to hasten up with the construction works going on at a slow pace to meet the new date(01-01-2019).
By Mar’2017, Canacona MLA Isidore Fernandes, not happy with the pace of ongoing work, invited the Arts and Culture Minister Govind Gaude, who came, inspected the ongoing works and assured Canconcars to give a model and state-of-the-art, people-friendly Ravindra Bhavan at Canacona in 2019. ‘That is my assurance and promise for Canconkars’, Gaude had said.
Incidentally, while yet another deadline for completion is missed, a visibly upset Canacona MLA Isidore, in March 2019 after inspecting the site that the Contractor could complete only 30% of the work, proposed to impose a fine on the contractor for missing the deadline, and simultaneously criticised GSIDC under whom the Raviondra Bhavan is constructed for giving yet another extension of 12 months. So the new date for completion was 01-01-2020.
However, by April 2021, more than half of the work had remained. Making it even more complex, the supposed to be a prestigious project of the State government, launched by none other than IITian Chief Minister and Country’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, after missing several deadlines, missed yet another date of completion – December 19, 2022.
Ramesh Tawadkar, who returned as Canacona MLA and is presently the GLA Speaker, inspected the ongoing works and even issued directions for early completion.
The non-completion and slow pace of Ravindra Bhavan is also mentioned in the budget presented by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant, stating 66% of the works are done, and the project will be completed by 19th Dec’2023.
However, as of 11th Aporil’2023, the GSIDC website states 66% of the work is completed, and the stipulated completion date is 31 Dec’2023 (contrary to CM’s budget assurance) at an awarded cost of 59.28 Cr.
Recently, not happy with the pace of work, the Director of Arts and Culture, Sagun Velip, inspected the ongoing construction works of Ravindra Bhavan at Chaudi Canacona, along with a few other department officers. Stating his visit purely to observe the pace of work, Velip said,’ Even though five years have passed since the start of the work, the department has received many complaints that the project is still incomplete. Hence this visit. Velip is learnt to have warned the contractor the work of Ravindra Bhavan carried out under the GSIDC should be completed immediately.
While the consultant is M/s, UCJ Architecture & Environment, the project is constructed by M/s. Krishna Builder, Delhi.
If and once completed, It will have 800 seat capacity, a Rehearsal Hall, an Art Gallery, Classrooms for Music, Drama, and Dance, a Dormitory for visiting Artists, a Cafeteria, an Administrative block, parking facilities for 51 four-wheelers and 131 two-wheelers at the complex.