Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, January 22
Though the state government has announced to install a statue of Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna on his 150th birth anniversary, the building of Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna Memorial Library at his native Bhakna village has been lying closed for over two decades. Local activists and family members of Baba Bhakna had setup the library at the main chowk of Bhakna village near the bus stand in early 1980s.
“Office-bearers of the library organising committee used to run it till early 1990s. After the demise of the office-bearers, the library had to be locked in 1994. Ram Lobhaya, Master Gurdial Singh, Gura Singh Baggi and Sarpanch Pyara Lal were the members of the library organising committee,” said Sarbajit Singh Bhalla, a local resident.
After the closure of the library, the Revenue Department had reportedly encroached upon the its building. With the efforts of family members, the Revenue Department vacated it a few years ago. “The committee had subscribed to some newspapers only. After the death of Gura Singh Baggi, there was no one to look after the library,” said Bhalla.
Meanwhile, Jaswinder Singh Bhakna, grandson of Baba Bhakna, said, “The library was opened to provide the literature to villagers. With the support of NRIs, the committee had constructed its building. But in the absence of any government aid, the library could not survive.”
Local activists and family members demanded that the government should open the library as well. “We have a building and books can be arranged. But, the government or the panchayat have to provide a librarian or permanent staff. The committee doesn’t have funds to pay the salary of the library staff,” said Jaswinder.
The family has also been demanding to install a statue of Baba Bhakna at Khasa Chowk on the Amritsar-Lahore highway.
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