Forget SKICC, KU’s convocation complex to be biggest in north India


Srinagar, May 13: Authorities in Kashmir University have every reason to feel proud. A state-of-the-art convocation complex—the biggest among north Indian varsities with a seating capacity of 2,500—would be thrown open later this month.
The oval shaped 25,000 sq ft complex, constructed at whopping Rs 750 lacs, is receiving finishing touches these days with labourers working round-the-clock to meet the deadline.
The foundation stone of the multi-design complex was laid by the then Chief Minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah on November 7, 1981. But only after three years of construction, the project was aborted due to some technical problems. The abandoned structure had become a blot on the beauty of the picturesque campus.
In 2003, a team of National Assessment and Accreditation Council after making on-the-spot assessment of the complex recommended reconstruction of the complex.
Under the guidance of University Construction Division and Kadiri Consultants Mumbai, the building agency, M/S Construction Engineers Srinagar started the work in February 2004. After two years of hectic work by dedicated engineers and laborers, the complex, which undoubtedly is a sheer example of engineering excellence, is nearing completion.
The highlight of the complex is that it has all the facilities under one roof: from holding convocations, meetings, seminars, cultural programs, to screening films. And last but not least, it has a parking area for over a thousand vehicles.
Engineering excellence
The frequently used auditorium hall of the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) which accommodates 700 persons stands no parallel before the KU’s upcoming hall with marvelous terraced seating arrangements.
Neatly polished Makrona Marble of Rajasthan in its curved corridors with glossy tiles on walls gives an international look to the complex. However, what captivates eyes is the spacious, well-designed and decorated convocation hall.
The hall with balcony looks like an indoor stadium with a seating arrangement for 2175 persons. Just near the stage, there is a waiting hall besides six rooms for VIPs and separate make rooms and luxurious bathrooms for males and females. Comfortable pushback chairs have been fixed in a pattern to match with the arched design of the hall. Its walls have been decorated with laminated teak sheets bordered with a strip of typical Kashmiri embroidered crewel cloth. A wall-to-wall carpet, thick enough to provide cushion to feet has been laid all over the hall.
Even the doors of the hall have been treated acoustically to avoid any interference with the sound inside the hall. With its own Central Heating System (CHS) the hall can be used in winters too.
The complex, particularly the hall is fireproof. As a precautionary measure, fire radiant system and smoke alarm bells get activated even with smoke of a cigarette have been installed all over the hall and other parts of the complex.
Magical stage
The spacious stage in the hall is designed to accommodate 200 persons at a time. Superior quality curtains with the stage have been fully mechanized by powerful motors to avoid any problem in their hoisting or parting. A sophisticated fog machine has been placed on the stage for providing special effects like smoke, fog, water or fire, particularly during dramas.
State-of-the-art lights like cyclorama head producing different shapes with colors, stage spot lights and moving head which as name signifies follows an artist or anchor, have been installed at various places of the halls especially for providing dramatic effects on stage.
Power house of sound
Many speakers and woofers have been installed in the hall in such a way that the persons sitting on its last row or balcony can hear the voice or music as clearly as near the stage. Powered by imported amplifiers, processors and equalizers, even the recorded sounds like of thunder or cries give a real life experience. Besides, to allow an anchor or artist free movement on the stage, special wireless mikes have been procured.
Men behind success
Executive Engineer Mufti Burhan Shah says the complex is not only the biggest in north India “but best in rest of the country.”
“It’s a well planned project rather not less than a engineering miracle. The hall does not have those ugly beams or concrete polls for support visible as seen in most of the modern buildings,” Shah said. “We and University management have put in our best efforts and utilized best quality raw material and skilled labourers to implement the massive project. It has started to bear fruits as those who visit the complex do acknowledge our work and this gives us satisfaction.”
Assistant Engineer Riyaz Ahmad Qureshi, under whose guidance sound and lighting system has been installed, says the system is of international standards. “The sound and lighting system of the hall is fully computerized and a mini control room with sophisticated gadgetry has been set up to control the hi-fi system.”
Muhammad Shafi Lone Junior Engineer (Civil) said the project was not less than a challenge. “While fixing the plastic of Paris tiles on the roof, the labourers had to work at a height of 48 ft. This was a risky job as the labourers required to fix the tiles with precision and balance themselves on bamboo sticks and ropes at the same time,” Lone said.
To make the POP tiles and other craft works, services of best artists and experience labourers were utilized. “We even set up a temporary factory near the complex to manufacture the tiles at the spot. Had we imported the fragile tiles from other places, they would have broken. Seventeen trucks of plastic of Paris were utilized for only the tile work of hall,” Lone said.
Suresh Munbui from Maharashtra overlooking the fixing of curtains says the complex is totally different. “I have worked in much convocation halls in the country. This complex has an edge over them in terms of design and is turning out to be best with its completion,” he said. Contractors, engineers and other labourers connected with the project expressed similar views.
Enthused KU officials
The KU vice-chancellor Prof Abdul Wahid Qureshi sounds optimistic about the convocation complex. He said earlier many conferences and seminars had to be rescheduled due to lack of space. “After construction of the complex, our accommodation problem has been solved. Now we can hold conferences and seminars of international level in the campus. Government can also use the complex for its functions,” Prof Wahid told Greater Kashmir.
The KU Registrar Prof Meraj-ud-Din said efforts were on to depute experienced staff for the maintenance and security of the complex. “The complex is turning out to be a major attraction of the campus. Apart from holding university functions, we are planning to make the hall available for other academic, literary and cultural activities on commercial basis,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 May 2007 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 May 2007 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 May 2007 00:00:00 IST

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