Hyderabad: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation is yet to set up digital libraries in the city even after 32 months. Despite collecting Rs 175 crore towards library cess for every financial year, nothing much has been done. The corporation during 2015 had announced it would set up 1,000 e-libraries across the city to facilitate unemployed youth and students as examinations were fast approaching.
The corporation said that the initiative would be taken up with public participation, where locals would identify an ideal location to set up a library. Following the GHMC’s announcement, as many as 765 applications were received at all circle offices but the initiative has hardly seen any progress.
Under digital libraries, a space of 20x15 ft to keep computers, a reading table and chairs would suffice. The civic body would give a grant of Rs 2 lakh at the circle level for two computers, newspapers, magazines, furniture and other reading material. It would also pay Rs 2,000 per month towards maintenance.
However, with the second consecutive financial year coming to an end, the civic body has managed to set up only 18 libraries and is yet to establish 32. GHMC has been collecting 8 per cent of property tax as library cess. The corporation has to pay the cess amount to the City Grandhalaya Samstha which has been maintaining over 90 libraries in the civic body limits and has been receiving the amount for several years.
As a result several libraries in the city are in a dilapidated condition with the lack of facilities and most of them have been shut down due to lack of funds.
The corporation authorities in a knee jerk reaction, following the instructions of former municipal administration and urban development minister K Taraka Rama Rao, formed a twenty member team during April 2017 to give the libraries a facelift, but could not make any progress since then.
Citizens are now forced to rely on the City Central Library in Chikkadpally and State Central Library at Afzalgunj. Both the libraries have been over crowded with the youth preparing for competitive examinations since the conclusion of the Assembly polls, as the government has already announced to fill about 40,000 vacancies in various government departments.
A senior GHMC official said that the corporation has already accorded Rs 2.20 crore for development and provision of basic amenities at the City Central Library.
He said that the corporation as of now was not concentrating on the libraries and not giving cess amounts to the other libraries in the city.
The official said that 765 applications had been received from the Residential Welfare Associations (RWAs) to establish e-libraries at the circle level, but the initiative could not see much progress despite public demand.
However, the official said that the corporation would shift its focus on digital libraries....