Stargazers will be able to return to the planetarium for the first time since a fire gutted its battery room two months ago.
The regular shows at Indira Gandhi Science Complex have been suspended since a fire broke out at the facility on August 14.
Around 200 viewers who were coming out after watching the afternoon show had a close shave, as the planetarium employees and fire fighters reacted swiftly and put out the blaze. The flames destroyed property worth Rs 5 lakh.
S.N. Ojha, the principal scientific observer at the planetarium, had promised that the facility would reopen on August 16 after the holiday for Independence Day. But two months on, shows are yet to resume.
Jay Prakash Singh, the project director of Bihar Council of Science and Technology (BCST) under which the Indira Gandhi Science Complex functions, said: “The UPS and the battery damaged in the fire will be installed and the show would start again after Puja.”
He refused to give any specific date. Durga Puja ended on October 14.
Singh said: “The delay has been caused because the UPS and a battery with power of 200 ampere hours are being brought from Ghaziabad (in Uttar Pradesh). They are not available locally. The formal process led to the delay.”
Ojha had also said the batteries would be acquired soon and there would be no delay.
This is the longest period for which the shows at the complex have been suspended since it was opened to the public on April 1, 1993. Before the fire, it used to host four 45-minute shows daily on the solar system and space at its theatre, with a seating capacity of 260, on the first floor. Tickets were priced at Rs 30 each.
The complex on Bailey Road near the Income Tax roundabout is a favourite among space watchers, especially students and teachers. The news of the shows restarting has made them happy.
Smriti, a student of Patna University, said: “It is good to know that celestial shows at the science complex are going to start after Puja. Patna doesn’t have any science city. The science complex is the only destination for those who are interested to learn more about space.”
She said the space complex was popular because the price of the ticket was affordable and the timings of the shows — 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm and 5pm — were convenient for students.
Besides re-opening the facility, there are also plans for its renovation. BCST project director Singh said: “The space complex is going to start sky-watching and modernisation of machines.”
Sky-watching is a scientific process of observing the movement of celestial bodies with the help of high-powered telescopes.