The Hardayal Municipal Public libraries that have been providing newspapers and books to thousands of readers in the city are faced with an uncertain future. Some of them are even likely to be shut due to lack of funds.
The head office in Chandni Chowk and its 27 branches were earlier run by the MCD, with the corporation annually spending Rs. 3 crore for their upkeep. After the trifurcation, the branches have been split - 14 under North, 11 under South and three under East.
The branches are located in community centres in areas such as Hauz Khas, Malviya Nagar and Mehrauli etc.
While the North Corporation has decided to adopt 13 of the 27 branches along with the 19th century head office, the fate of the other 13 libraries hangs in the balance with employees not getting their salary for the last five months.
According to senior leader of South Corporation, some of the smaller branches may have to be shut. "The important library is the head office that houses rare books. The rest are normal libraries and if their funding is not resolved, we may have to shut some of them," he said.
The problem lies with the funding. An amount of Rs. 3 crore was handed over to the North Corporation during the split because the head office comes under its jurisdiction. The corporation has, however, refused to share the resources with the other two bodies, saying that each corporation must be responsible for their own branches.
"After the split, it has been decided that each corporation will on its own take up the charge of properties that are located within their jurisdiction," said Mahender Nagpal, leader of the House.
Of the Rs. 3 crore, Rs. 1.65 crore is earmarked for the head office, while each branch gets Rs. 5 lakh.