Book enthusiast: NRI urges Punjab MLAs to pass Public Libraries Act
The Act makes it mandatory for the state government to build one library in every village and town. So far, Punjab has failed to pass the Act.punjab Updated: Dec 04, 2017 14:35 IST
After establishing four libraries in three districts of Punjab, retired professor Jaswant Singh, 85, has initiated a campaign seeking the Public Libraries Act to be tabled in the Punjab assembly.
With a mission to promote book culture among the Punjabis, the US-based Sikh wrote a letter to all MLAs (member of legislative assembly), urging them to implement the Act in the state, here on Sunday.
As per information, around 20 states in India, including neighbouring state Haryana, have already passed the Act. The Act makes it mandatory for the state government to build one library in every village and town. So far, Punjab has failed to pass the Act.
“We, Punjabis, fancy migrating to the US, Canada and other developed counties, but we have failed to adopt their culture of reading and going to libraries,” said the retired professor.
Jaswant and some of his NRI friends have opened libraries at Jurahana and Rauni villages in Ludhiana, Lopon village in Moga and Sang Dhesian village in Jalandhar, in the past ten years.
Punjab was to bring the Public Libraries Act in 1993. In 2011, the then education minister, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, raised the issue again.
The draft was once accepted by former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Prof Jagtar Singh of Punjabi University’s science department library, had prepared the draft that was ‘assented’ by former CM, but the bill continues to gather dust.
“Before 1947, Punjab was the leader in the field of literature. But since then, the state governments have not paid attention towards books or libraries. If the state government introduces this Act, there will be libraries in every village and town of Punjab. It will even generate employment and provide opportunity to read more and more books for the needy and book enthusiasts,” said Jaswant, who hails from Jurahana village in Ludhiana.
Singh and his supporters have sent letters and emails to the MLAs. “I have received an email in this regard. I will try to table it as a private bill in the state assembly,” said Dirba MLA Harpal Singh Cheema.