‘Move a first step to shift entire library to Delhi’

A letter from the Culture Ministry to the director general of National Library requesting the latter to open an extension counter in Delhi within 10 days is being seen as the first step of the BJP government to shift the entire library to the national Capital.

The Jatiya Granthagar  Pathak Mancha will urge the heads of different schools and colleges and the vice chancellors of different universities along with research scholars to foil the Centre’s move, Biswajit Goswami, one of the convenors, said.

The letter written by NK Sinha, under secretary to the Culture Ministry to the director general of National Library on August 1 read, “I am directed to refer to your letter dated 11.07.2016 on the subject mentioned above and to say that as discussed in the review meeting, you are requested to open the extension counter in Delhi within 10 days. This may be treated as most urgent.”

In a review meeting held on June 14, it was decided that for better coordination and liaisoning with publishers, an extension of National Library should be established in Delhi and staff should be posted from Kolkata on rotation.

It was decided that the area required for the proposed extension centre would be anything between 5000 to 10,000 square feet. Maximum number of readers to be accommodated at any given point of time will be 25 users. There will be five high-end network printers. There will be 10 staff to start with. 

The Centre will coordinate with the Culture Ministry for smooth running of the National Library administration.  The Centre will promote the uniform library platform in India.  It will coordinate and liaison with various ministries, departments, subordinate offices, autonomous offices of Central government that publish books, reports, newsletters, census documents, maps etc in hard or electronic format.

Senior officials of National Library said many of the old manuscripts, books and periodicals would be transferred to Delhi. “The main reason behind is to shift the entire library in phases and the huge building on Belevedere will just be a godown,” the officials maintained.

Professor Abid Hassan, a well known historian, maintained that it was a conspiracy of the Centre to shift the old institution to Delhi. 

The scholar said there could not be extension centre of institutions like National Library, Indian Museum, Victoria Memorial Hall and the Indian War Memorial etc. He said that in two international meetings held in Colombo and Manila, it was decided that there could not be two national libraries in a country or their extension.

 “When the newspaper section was shifted to Belvedere from Esplanade, pages of many old newspapers got damaged. If there is an attempt to shift the old manuscripts to Delhi, most of them will be damaged and our future generation would not be able to see them,” he said.

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