State aiding libraries on closure list?
Even after the state cabinet approved closure of 914 inoperative public libraries, the government is disbursing financial grants to some of them.
A census of libraries in May last year had revealed that only 5,784 of the 12,861 libraries registered in the state were being run as per government norms, and many existed only on paper.
Following the census report, the state cabinet gave its nod for closure of 914 and downgrading of 360 libraries on March 6, by stopping grants and cancelling registrations. But the decision is yet to be implemented. Meanwhile, financial grants were allegedly disbursed before March 31 to about 70-80 per cent of the 914 libraries on the closure list, despite the revelation of their poor operations.
“We have received replies from libraries to our notices and a report will be submitted to the cabinet for final approval,” said Dr B A Sananse, state director for libraries.
Regarding grants given to libraries found non-functional, he said the disbursals were based on the operations and expenditures of the libraries in the preceding years. Even many of the 360 libraries recommended for degradation received grants based on their previous grades.
Rajesh Tope, minister for higher and technical education, however, maintained that the cabinet decision was being implemented in letter and spirit.
Number of libraries in the state facing closure
Number of libraries slated for downgrading