Bathinda, May 26
A row has erupted over a notice issued by the Bathinda Municipal Corporation (BMC) to the managing committee of a 75-year-old public library to vacate the land by May 31.
Leaders across the political spectrum in Bathinda district on Friday took a strong exception to the MC’s move.
A meeting was organised in this regard by the acting president of the library committee, Baltej Singh.
Panel members trash graft claims
- The library committee members have trashed the graft allegations levelled by the corporation
- The government grant was used to buy new furniture, computers, etc. Every year, every penny is accounted for, stress committee members
Public Library Committee president Baltej and general secretary Kuldeep Dhingra have contended that allegations of financial irregularities made by corporation officials against the library committee were not true. “The truth is that the library was set up by freedom fighters in 1938 and the present building was constructed in 1954, which is spread over 1,840 square yards. Along with the library, there are shops. Rent from the shops is used to cover the expenses for the maintenance of the library. This land was given on lease from time to time by the Municipal Council and later by the Municipal Corporation,” one of them stated.
Notably, the Municipal Council had filed a case in the SDM court in 2003-04, which sided with the library committee in 2006. Since then, the lease of 1,840 yards lasted till 2015. The library committee has made repeated requests to the Municipal Corporation for the extension of the lease. The corporation had extended the lease of the library from 2015 till 2018 and later from 2018 till 2021. The corporation had constituted a sub-committee to deliberate over the control of shops in the area. But the decision on shops was deferred. And the lease of the library building was extended till 2024 through a proposal on January 3, 2022. The lease amount was deposited by the library managing committee with the MC.
BMC Superintending Engineer Sandeep Gupta said, “We are not shutting the library. We are taking charge (of it). The library would be run effectively through an NGO or the Red Cross as we own the land.”
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