Planetarium work delayed
Manama, October 3, 2008
Work on Bahrain's first planetarium has been stalled indefinitely, with officials still trying to get government permits.
The BD78,000 dome-shaped project at The Indian School campus in Isa Town, will feature educational and entertainment shows displayed on its projection screen.
The Gulf Daily News reported in June that Bahrain's young stargazers would be able to learn more about astronomy, with the planetarium originally due to open by early next month.
Students from other schools and the public would also be allowed into the planetarium, which will have a seating capacity for more than 100 people.
However, school principal Dr A S Pillai said the project was yet to receive the green signal from government authorities, to even begin construction or ship in materials.
"In order to go ahead with the construction of the planetarium, the school has to get sanctions for its various stages from the authorities concerned," Dr Pillai said.
"All we can say for sure now is that the whole thing is under process.
"Civil works on the planetarium have not begun yet, which is again for the authorities to approve.
"It is only after the school gets the required approvals that work can begin. Once we get the go-ahead, we will place an order for the dome, which will most probably be brought from the US.
"There could be further delays once the work begins, so we can't say exactly when the project will be ready. However, the construction is not expected to take much time as it will only be as big as a normal-sized room.
"I believe that the delay for the permission is due to this venture being the first-of-its-kind in Bahrain. The authorities need to study the various aspects involved in the project.
"This will be the first planetarium of the kingdom and The Indian School is always keen on innovations."
Dr Pillai said the aim behind the project was to stir an interest in learning.
School chairman P V Radhakrishna Pillai earlier said the structure may be dedicated to Indian astronomers such as Chandrashekar Subramanian or Jayant Narlikar.
Mr Pillai, who called the venture "a dream come true for The Indian School Bahrain", said the decision was taken at the school's Extraordinary General Body Meeting, held at its Jashanmal Auditorium in June.
The initial designs have already been drawn up.
The planetarium would also be host to seminars and workshops on various topics, as well as stargazing at night and gatherings for other special astronomical events like solar and lunar eclipses.
There will also be a small reading room featuring books, journals, magazines and audiovisual aids on astronomy.
Officials said the school was to get the most advanced digital projection system, most probably from Australia. -TradeArabia News Service