Nearly a month after he declared that Kala Academy’s open-air auditorium would have to be demolished, minister for art and culture Govind Gaude on Monday changed tack and said the structure will be “strengthened”. 
Gaude’s change of heart comes after the high court took it up suo motu following a series of reports by TOI. 

“Where was the word ‘demolition’ used? I want to see,” Gaude said. 

On July 23, Gaude had told TOI, “As per my knowledge, the open-air auditorium cannot be repaired or renovated. We have to demolish it and reconstruct it.” 

But on Monday, Gaude brazened it out. “These rumours are floating on social media that I’ve said it will be demolished. I challenge them to a debate. I have said that the strengthening of the Kala Academy has to be done,” he said. 

Gaude had made the “demolition” statement after a test was conducted by the engineers of Goa Engineering College. He had also said that the government would take a decision after it gets a report from Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation. 

The minister said the first structural audit of the open-air auditorium by the Goa Engineering College (GEC) had said that “Kala Academy needs to be strengthened. The report given to us was not by any private consultant, but by the prestigious institution, GEC.”