Ban on recruitments, retirement of drivers and refusal of RTA to renew permits of old buses, take a toll on the popular service in vogue since 1978

Mobile libraries in the city have come to a grinding halt. Retirement of drivers and refusal of the Road Transport Authority to renew permits to the ageing vehicles have brought down curtains on a service in vogue since 1978. The worst-hit are housewives and aged citizens who are now deprived of the facility to get books of their choice at the doorstep.

In fact, for the last five years the buses which were used for mobile libraries are now gathering dust at the City Central Library in Chikkadpally thanks to the apathy of the Hyderabad City Grandhalaya Samstha.

The mobile libraries used to visit areas which had no branch library once a week and made a stopover for an hour. Housewives and senior citizens would make a beeline and borrow books.

“Two drivers retired more than five years ago and one driver is too old,” a librarian said, as the reasons for the buses lying unused at the CCL premises.

“The authorities did not go for contract workers though they have appointed many as librarians,” a staff member said. Earlier the mobile libraries had one driver, a cleaner and two librarians each. Around 170 service points across the city were covered by the mobile libraries including Musheerabad, Bahadurpura, Hussainialam, Vijayanagar Colony and other neighbourhoods.

Books in at least four different languages – English, Urdu, Telugu and Hindi – were available for the readers.

Hyderabad City Grandhalaya Samstha secretary B.S.P Jagan Mohan Reddy said the service was stopped after the retirement of bus drivers and with the RTA authorities denying permission to buses which have plied for 15 years.

“We have set up small libraries in areas which were earlier covered by the buses for the convenience of people,” he said.

However, many new areas in the city are devoid of the facility.

“The authorities should replace the old buses and resume the service immediately, says Ikramuddin, secretary, Unique Welfare Society in Old City.

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