The Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha district library building here, the foundation stone of which was laid by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on July 26, 2011, and was completed in March 2014, is still waiting for readers to be allowed to step in. The building, which cost Rs 80 lakh, has been in disuse since its construction and remains locked for six days a week.
The library opens only on Wednesday. On that day also, books are not accessible and only newspapers and a few magazines are provided to readers since the books have not been arranged on the shelves and sorting, listing of the books is pending.
The library, earlier known as the Nabha District Library, was started by the British government in the Quila Mubarak of Nabha.
The building was declared unsafe around 20 years ago and hence public access was denied to the books in the library. Around 30-40 thousand books of the library, collected over decades remained lying bundled in a room above the SDM office for years where the books kept on adding from various sources as per the protocol.
“The library has a rich collection of rare books, which are decaying. The library had a large readership when it was operational in Quila Mubarak,” said poet Darshan Buttar, president of the Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha Rachna Vichar Manch.
It was on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of the famous lexicographer and compiler of Guru Shabad Ratnakar Mahan Kosh, Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, that the CM sanctioned `79 lakh for the reconstruction of the library and named it after Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha.
The municipal council provided around 3,000 yards land for it. The racks costing around `4 lakh are lying empty in the new building. The district library lacks a permanent librarian and a restorer, after the retirement of the previous staff.
A librarian comes from Patiala on Wednesday, who also looks after some other district libraries in the district. In the absence of a restorer, the sorting and listing of the ancient books remains pending and readers cannot have access to books.
“We, retired friends, were excited to know about the re-establishment of the ancient district library. But, all we can access is some newspapers and magazines and that too once a week. It sounds like a joke to us” said a retired government employee of Nabha.