KU sitting on Rs.3-crore fund for library development

G. Mahadevan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: More than two months after receiving Rs.3 crore from the State Government for modernising the University Library, the University of Kerala is yet to decide on how to spend the money.

The grant was received on a proposal sent by the library to the Government. The fund was sanctioned at the instance of Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac who has been a regular user of the library for many years, library officials say. Now, they fear that the fund may be diverted by the cash-strapped university for other purposes.

“Initially, the Library and Publications committee of the Syndicate appointed a nine-member expert committee to recommend ways to spend the money. Now, that committee has been expanded to 13 and one original member has been excluded. This committee is yet to meet. We fear that the committee is just a delay tactic,” a source in the university told .

The grant was released to the university vide a GO dated March 20. The money was credited to the university’s coffers on March 31. The proposal for library improvement submitted by the deputy librarian-in-charge of the University of Kerala contains, among others, a proposal for installing a solar energy facility at the library, air-conditioning the reference section and the Kerala Studies section, augmenting the computer facilities and remodelling the library’s front counter.

The reconstituted ‘expert committee’ consists of five members of the Syndicate. Among the experts listed for the committee is the librarian of IIT, Chennai. This proposal has already raised eyebrows in the university administration, with many officials pointing out that the fund sanctioned does not have any provision for allowing TA and/or DA for these experts. A Syndicate member, when asked why such a committee was set up, said the proposal sent by the deputy librarian was too sketchy and the committee was set up to explore the best possible means to utilise the grant.

University Vice-Chancellor M.K. Ramachandran Nair told that the money received for the library would be spent only on it. “There is no question of re-directing that money,” he asserted.

The reconstituted expert committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday.

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