A tussle between the District Central Library and the Vijayapura City Corporation over the fixing of rent for the library building owned by the corporation has surfaced again.
The reason for the tussle erupting again is the notice issued by the corporation to the library asking it not only to pay higher rent but also remit arrears along with interest.
The corporation has fixed Rs. 12 per sq ft for the over four-decade-old library building located on MG Road. This has become the main contentious issue between the two government bodies.
The library officials said that since the total building area runs into nearly 6,000 sq ft, the monthly rent comes to over Rs. 70,000.
“We are running a government library and not any commercial activity which allows us earn profits and pay a whopping sum of Rs. 70,000 a month as rent. It is a public library which is meant for public service. We offer books free to the public for reading and we do not sell any books. How can the corporation expect us to pay such a huge rent,” an official said. He said that for years, the minimum rent was fixed at around Rs. 2,000 which the library could pay but this huge sum is beyond its limit. The official said that when other local bodies offer free space for setting up libraries such as in gram panchayats, why cannot the corporation here follow the same norm.
Meanwhile, defending the higher rent, the corporation says that it is only following an order to fix rent for property owned by the corporation.
Speaking to The Hindu , corporation Commissioner Harsha Shetty said that since the corporation is fixing new rates for all buildings owned by it, it has asked the library to pay the new rent.
“Moreover, we do not have the authority to make exemptions. If the Library Department wants the building for free, then it can approach the respective Ministry to get an exemption,” he said.
Mr. Shetty said that if the library officials could get an order from the government, then the corporation has no issues to offer the building free. “Without any such order, the corporation can’t do much,” Mr. Shetty added.