Visitors to the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru say the exhibits in the science park located on its premises lack maintenance.
The science park has about 60 interactive exhibits and is free to enter.
Metrolife visited the planetarium, a tourist attraction on T Chowdiah Road, popular among school children, last week. We found broken pulleys and musical pipes, shredded QR codes, splintered battery boxes, rusted surfaces, and partially-working telescopes.
“The negligence of crucial learning places is alarming. It is important for authorities and government bodies to re-develop it,” said Nithish P Byndoor, a mass communication lecturer from Mangaluru, who had come to the planetarium with his students for an excursion.
Syeda Tashiya, a school student, praised the science park for being “the perfect balance between fun and education” but added that “the broken instruments are a barrier to the learning process”.
She said that the visitors should use the exhibits cautiously so as not to damage them. “If the authorities do not act immediately, the purpose of the establishment is lost,” she said.
Sirisha, a student counselor and psychologist, surmised the poor condition could be a result of the pandemic and mishandling by visitors.
“While the authorities are responsible for the maintenance, parents and educators must guide children to use the public property responsibly,” she said.
According to HR Madhusudan, assistant director of the planetarium, they undertake annual as well as need-based renovation of the exhibits and equipment.
Its director Pramod G Galgadi attributes the current state of the science park to “the change in the weather” and “the carelessness and negligence of the visitors”.
“Although the science park encourages children to learn through experience, each exhibit must be handled with appropriate guidance and care. Annually, in the month of March, the respective authorities re-develop the exhibits. We also introduce novel science exhibits to encourage the learning process,” he says.