Poor maintenance and mishandling are likely reasons. The authorities say that they are working on it.
Meghna Das Chowdhury
Most gadgets and equipment at the Science Park of the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium are dysfunctional, leaving visitors disappointed. “I have visited this Science Park before,” said Sreeya, a visitor. “Earlier when I came here, all equipment worked properly. But now, I am surprised to see a lot of them out of order. I am disappointed.”
The Science Park, which is outside the planetarium, is a big draw. The planetarium was built in 1989 and the Science Park in 2000. The Science Park has various gadgets which demonstrate the wonders of science and make it easy to understand the complexities of physics.
Students The Observer spoke with said they were disappointed and had lost interest in the park. “I have come here for the first time and wanted to see how the pendulum works. But I saw that it was not working according to the instructions mentioned. Therefore, I didn’t understand anything,” said Ankit Rao, a class 5 student who was visiting the place as part of a school trip.
Savitramma, a regular visitor to the park, said the gadgets are not properly maintained, causing their degradation. Rainwater has led to them being rusted.
The security guard of the park said visitors often mishandle the gadgets.
Deputy administrative officer of the planetarium G.K. Rajeshwari informed The Observer: “We have an annual contract with a body that pays a visit here to look after the equipment and maintain them. We are aware of the fact that few equipment are not working like they should. We are working on it and trying to solve the problem as soon as possible.”
She added: “On an average, 800-1000 people visit the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium every day. Though most of the visitors come to the planetarium for its shows, a significant number of them spend a good time at the science park. Therefore, we try our best to maintain the science park, but sometimes due to various issues the maintenance is not up to date.”
Asked about the situation, Anindita Ray, a science professor in Techno India College of Technology, said: “The equipment should be treated more carefully. All equipment in a science park requires a lot of maintenance. If it is not done, then obviously the equipment won’t work properly. Moreover the change in weather also affects the machines. It would be better if there is a guide for the visitors who can explain the working principles of the gadgets.”