In June 2012,the then President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the new building of College of Agriculture at Shivajinagar here. More than a year has since passed,but the building still remains unused for day-to-day academic activities. This leaves the old heritage building of the college,with a Grade-I tag,overburdened.
Moreover,plans to develop the heritage building into one-of-its-kind national agricultural museum have taken a backseat due to the alleged lethargy on part of the college administration and Mahatma Phule Agricultural University at Rahuri in Ahmednagar that governs the college.
All six lecture halls in the new building remain locked. They do not have any furniture and other infrastructure in place to hold classes. Although a few departments and offices have been shifted to the new building recently,all major day-to-day functioning of the college takes place from the old building.
Funds to he tune of more than Rs 30 lakh are needed to buy furniture for the lecture halls and other parts of the new building. A proposal,seeking release of the funds,will be send to Mahatma Phule Agricultural University shortly, said Dr A G Chandele,associate dean and principal of the College of Agriculture.
The college has already spent around Rs 14 crore on the construction of the new building through funds released by the Indian Council for Agriculture Research for Mahatma Phule Agricultural University.
The college,which is more than 100 years old and was used as a hospital by the British during the First World War from 1914-1918,has been tagged as a Grade-I structure by PMC since 2010. The building,hailed as an architectural marvel,has a beautiful entrance hall,library,herbarium and laboratories for teaching and research,botany,mycology and economics sections,besides classrooms and offices of dean,principal and administration.
On plans to set up a national agricultural museum at old building of college,which was formally announced a year ago,Chandele said a proposal to this effect is yet to be drafted. We have formed a separate committee to chalk out a proposal for setting up national museum in heritage building. It is an ambitious project. Committee members will be visiting the three existing national agricultural museums in the country,and then come up with an idea for our own college, he said,without giving any specific time-limit to accomplish the task.
When contacted,vice-president of the Maharashtra Council of Agricultural Education and Research (MCAER) that governs the four agricultural universities in the state,Vijay Kolte said measures would be taken to expedite the shifting of college work out of the old building as well as coming out with suitable proposal for national museum.