Coimbatore Corporation has planned libraries in all the 100 wards in the city. Mayor S.M. Velusamy announced this at two consecutive Council meetings as well and asked councillors to identify buildings that remained unutilised in their locality.
He told The Hindu on Thursday that the target of 100 libraries had been fixed. At first, the Corporation would establish the libraries at places where it had buildings. At places where it did not have buildings it would either build one or rent buildings.
The Corporation was not interested in utilising the library cess it levied because if belonged to the Library Authority, he clarified and added that the Corporation would establish the libraries with its funds, after all it was a public service.
The objective was to provide a good reading atmosphere to the public, just as the Corporation provided recreation facilities through parks to the public.
The Mayor's reaction comes after many councillors, especially those from the added areas, raised the need for libraries in all the wards in the city.
But all is not well with the Corporation as far as libraries are concerned. The money the Corporation had given to the District Library Authority in the last 10 years was close to Rs. 45 crore. With the fund given by the local bodies that had formed part of the Corporation, the total amount worked out to Rs. 61 crore.
With the money, the Authority had not performed its duty – opened libraries in the city, accused M. Krishnasamy, a former Councillor and MDMK member.
He also blamed the Corporation for not following-up with the Authority for having libraries within its jurisdiction.
Even if the Authority had spent Rs. 10 lakh on a library in each of the 100 wards, the total expenditure would have amounted to only Rs. 10 crore. But it had Rs. 61 crore, he pointed out.