BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
The roof of the Kala Academy open-air theatre has collapsed along with the tiles on the walls, revealing the inferior workmanship by contractors.
This has the engineers of the Public Works Department (PWD) fuming because their written complaints against the shoddy work being carried out have been falling on deaf ears.
An engineer from the PWD
“There are a number of letters (GT had a preview of some) written by us to contractors, raising red flags on the substandard work, but they do not react and perhaps bin them,” said an engineer from the PWD on the condition of anonymity.
“In the end, the blame is put on us. I think the people now know what is happening. There is nothing we can do because the contractors know they have the people who matter on their side,” stated the engineer with disgust written on his face.
Kala Academy, Goa’s premier art institution, has been in the news since 2021 when the government decided to renovate the structure designed by the late architect Charles Correia amidst claims of rampant corruption, to the point where Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had to order a vigilance inquiry, the result of which is not out.
“Waterproofing work was carried out on the roof before the start of the monsoon of 2021. There was percolation of water seen and leakage that could be seen and that could have led to the corrosion of reinforcement. That could be one of the causes of the collapse,” stated an engineer on the condition of anonymity.
“The work could not withstand the third monsoon, and it reflects the quality of work – work that has been red-flagged by many of us,” claimed the engineer.
“At first glance, it is very clear that the roof has collapsed because of substandard work. The concrete used should have had extra reinforcement, and I am not aware why the government did not do the renovation work with the engineers who were part of the firm that built Kala Academy,” stated a senior private engineer who visited the site of the collapse.
Efforts to contact Odette Da Silva, Chief Engineer (II), PWD, proved futile as she did not respond to several calls.
As the workforce clears the debris, with citizens watching a drama where even Shah Jahan was extolled to cover deceit, art lovers in Goa will need to wait even longer till the first notes flow through the corridors of Kala Academy.