Shifting of Central Library to People's Park likely soon

Activists say that legal battle will be taken up against construction

Construction of a Central Library in the city has been subject of controversy for the past two decades. Officials of the Department of Public Libraries are now hopeful of constructing the library, and have sent a proposal to the State government, seeking Rs 4.98 crore for the same. The proposal is awaiting administrative approval.

Meanwhile, activists who have been concerned about the disappearing lung spaces in the city, said that they would protest construction of any buildings inside a park.

Central Library is currently housed in the Chamarajendra Technical Institute building, a heritage structure in the city. Owing to the heritage status of the building, no works can be taken up to expand the facilities at the library. The library which was inaugurated on October 15, 1915, during the period of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar will observe centenary celebrations next year.

Though the library was enough to meet the demands of the population a century ago, it is however insufficient now, as population has seen an exponential growth, say authorities.

New building

Speaking to Deccan Herald, B Manjunath, Deputy Director of Public Libraries said that a new building for the Central Library was greatly in demand. “If we have a new building, digital facilities, which the State government is mulling over introducing, can be easily adapted. The fact that Central Library is housed in a heritage building, restricts any options for the development of the Library,” he said.

On the concerns raised by activists regarding ‘lung spaces’ in the city, Manjunath said that land measuring 400x340 feet, had been allotted to the Department, back in 1979, six years before the implementation of the Karnataka State Parks and Open Spaces Act.

“Delay in taking up works of the Library has lead to an assumption among people that the land belongs to the Park, which is far from the truth,” he said.

Cabinet approval

In an earlier proposal, the Department had sought Rs 4.08 crore for the construction of the Park, which was approved by the State in 2012. However, since the land comprised loose soil, and additional works were required for the construction of a stable building, a revised estimate  was submitted to the State in 2013-14.

Since, the revised estimate sought 25 per cent more funds than the original proposal, the Department has to get the cabinet approval, if funds are to be sanctioned.
Officials are hopeful that the funds will be sanctioned, with the intervention of local elected representatives.

CDP error

Manjunath also noted that the Comprehensive Development Plan of Mysore Urban Development Authority had wrongly identified the land allotted to the Department as part of the Park. “We have submitted documents to MUDA, so that the CDP can be revised accordingly,” Manjunath said.

He added that the Department was in the process of getting an UPOR card, for the land allotted to them, which would ensure that construction of the library can be taken up without any hurdles.

Bhamy Shenoy of Mysore Grahakara Parishath, said that the department  was “harping on something that is not going to happen”.

“We are not against the construction of library and feel that a world class library has to come up in the city. But, it should not come up inside the Park.

There are enough CA sites in the city, which can be allotted to the Department for the construction of a library. In case the Department is adamant on building the library inside the Park, we will take up the issue in court," he said.

Activist Syed Tanveeruddin, said that the initial transfer of land, in the form of a gift deed too was illegal, as the transfer of property was against the Karnataka Government Parks (preservation) Act, 1975. The construction, if it is taken up, would be in violation, he added.

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