Local bodies owe Rs 380 cr to libraries

Local bodies including city corporations have failed to remit crores of rupees collected as library cess by citizens over several years. The local bodies in the State owe a whopping Rs 380 crore to the Department of Public Libraries.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, which owes Rs 317 crore to the department, tops the list of defaulters. The Mysuru City Corporation is in arrears of Rs nine crore. The department manages as many as 6,998 libraries across the State and the library cess is a major source of revenue, said Public Libraries Director Satishkumar S Hosamani said. He was speaking to Deccan Herald here on Friday.

 “I have informed the respective deputy commissioners, Zilla Panchayat chief executive officers (CEOs), secretaries and other authorities concerned to make arrangements for settling the pending amount at the earliest soon,” Hosamani said, adding that many local bodies had not paid the cess for five years. He said that the libraries could adopt modern technologies if they get funds.

According to the rules, local bodies have to pay six per cent of their total revenue collection to the Library department. The State government only pays salaries of a few officials in the top position and gives Rs 400 per month for libraries at Gram Panchayat level to buy newspapers. So, the libraries depend on the cess for building rent, electricity bill, telephone bill, employees’ salary, newspapers, purchasing of books and other expenses, the director said.

He said that the department would initiate legal action if the authorities fail to clear the arrears at the earliest.

The Commissioner of Mysuru City Corporation C G Betsurmath said that the MCC had been paying the cess amount to the Library department of late.

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