Punjab yet to implement Public Library Act

  • Avtar Singh, HindustanTimes, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Jan 06, 2016 12:44 IST
A Visitor scanning books at Bhagwanto Yadgar Public Library, Jurahan , established by NRI Jaswant Singh, in Ludhiana. (HT Photo )

The draft of Punjab Public Library and Information Services Bill 2011 is yet to be implemented. Around 21 states including neighbouring state Haryana, have implemented the Library Act in their respective states, but Punjab is far behind and waiting for its implementation.

Punjab was to implement it in 1993, but in vain. In 2011, education minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan again raised the issue. The draft, which was once accepted by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, has adequate system regarding libraries, including terminology, establishment, state centre library, town and rural library system, rules and regulations.

A delegation of Punjabi Sahitya Academy also met education minister Daljit Singh Cheema under the leadership of academy president Sukhdev Singh Sirsa on Tuesday.

Sukhdev Singh Sirsa said, “We discussed four issues, including the Library Act. The education minister assured us and has asked education secretary to pursue the matter.”

Punjabi University library science department Professor Jagtar Singh said, “I was the member of the drafting committee and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal accepted the draft. But now the bill is gathering dust in DPI (colleges). Madras had passed the bill in 1948 and even Haryana passed the bill in 1989.”

Gurbhajan Gill, member of the draft committee, said, “Rhe Library Act was a part of my election manifesto when I won Punjabi Sahitya Academy elections in 2010. We approached education minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and he played major role regarding the bill. Now, the bill is need of the hour which should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Gursharan Kaur Walia, executive director, language department, Patiala, said, “We have made the draft and now, the DPI (college) will follow the matter.”

In April 2014, Punjab and Haryana high court had expressed confidence that the state government would form its opinion on enacting the Punjab Public Library and Information Services Bill after the elections are over. Jaswant Singh, retired professor and NRI and Harish Moudgil, retired teacher from government school, had filed Public interest litigation (PIL). They desired HC’s direction reading the library bill.

Jaswant Singh on telephonic conversation with HT said, “Indian states have passed Public Library Legislation and are providing library services to residents in their states. Haryana is one of the 21 states. If the Shabad Parkash Punjab Public Library and information services bill is enacted in 2016 by the Punjab assembly and signed by the government, it might be some relief to Punjabis.

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