SDMC may shut down 11 units of historic library

North Corpn adopts 13 branches of total 27 in city

The future of at least 11 of the 27 branches of the historic Hardayal Municipal Public Library is in limbo with a majority of them are facing closure after North Delhi Municipal Corporation decided to adopt just 13 units under its jurisdiction.

While NDMCdecided to adopt 13 branches including the headquarters in Chandni Chowk, employees at other units under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation could be out of work.

Out of the 14 branches which are outisde the ambit of the North corporation, 11 fall under the jurisdiction of South Corporation, while the rest three are under East Corporation.

The North Corporation passed a resolution in the House on Tuesday adopting the 13 branches of pre-Independence library under it.

The headquarters of the library  at Gandhi Ground, Town Hall in Chandni Chowk, is one of the richest libraries in the city with a collection of some rare books.

“While the library has 27 branches across the city, the headquarters of the library is the best. Other branches are no match to it. Since it lies in the jurisidction of North Corporation, it has adopted it for maintenance. As far as the branches falling under the jurisdiction of SDMC are concerned, we need to seriously consider whether it would be prudent to run them,” said a senior official of SDMC.

Standing committee chairman Rajesh Gehlot said a decision on the issue would be taken soon after discussions with the mayor, leader of the house and other officials. He said if the the decsion is to run them, they would be relaunched at a grand scale.

Even as the fate of some branches is uncertain, salaries of library employees has not been paid for the past four to five months. Opposition leaders in the civic body said staff will be further disappointed as other branches under South and East corporations did not have a budget to maintain the libraries.

“Before trifurcation, the MCD had a budgetary allocation of Rs 3 crore as grant-in-aid for maintaining the library. After trifurction the budgetary alllocation was transferred to the North Corporation. The corporation has now decided to adopt only 13 branches and has allocated Rs 2.3 crore for their mainteinance, said Mukesh Goel, leader of opposition in NDMC.

He said the future of the other branches under South and East corporation has become uncertain as these bodies do no have any budgetary allocation to maintain libraries. The employees of these branches may not get salary for several more months.

After trifurcation, the North Corporation was made the nodal corporation to run all the branches of the library which was rechristened as Hardayal Municipal Public Library from its original name — Hardinge Municipal Public Library in 1970.

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