Chennai, Nov 16 (BPNS)
Tamil Nadu rural development department has sanctioned an amount of Rs 84 crore for the upliftment of 3800 rural libraries in the state. This was following widespread complaints about the dream project of the former Chief Minister, Late M. Karunanidhi waning away for lack of proper maintenance and management.
It was during the last leg of the rule of M. Karunanidhi that the government sanctioned the opening of 12,525 libraries under the Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam (AGAMT) project.
The project was aimed at students, women, and senior citizens who are not in a position to go to district headquarters to access public libraries. This was considered the grandiose project of ‘Kalaignar’ Karunanidhi and the government of the day purchased books worth several lakhs of rupees.
However, within two years, the project was not functioning smoothly as fund allocation came down after the DMK government changed and the rural libraries which were opened with much fanfare turned into remnants of their old glory. In a period of time, the number of rural libraries that were functioning came down and by 2015 only 2000 libraries were functioning. Most of the libraries gathered dust and dirt and the buildings turned into dens for anti–social activities.
After the DMK government returned to power, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has announced the revival of rural public libraries and had earlier sanctioned an amount of Rs 91 crore under the AGAMT for repairing 4116 rural librariers.
The Rural department has now sanctioned an amount of Rs 84 crore for repairing and maintaining 3808 rural libraries. The library department has also announced sanctioning of Rs 50,000 for each library for the purchase of books. However, the department has directed the Honorary librarians in charge of these libraries to rope in some corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds and also support from NGOs for the purchase of weeklies and magazines.
With the rural libraries gearing up for a new facelift with the funds allocated and buying new books and magazines, these libraries could turn once again into vibrant centres of culture and reading in villages.