HYDERABAD: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is considering a proposal to takeover libraries under its limits as it’s unhappy with the way the Hyderabad Zilla Grandhalaya Samstha is maintaining them.
At the recent general body meeting, a majority of the corporators voiced concern over the poor quality of service at the various libraries in the twin cities.
The GHMC gives eight per cent of the property tax collected to the Zilla Grandhalaya Samstha for the development and maintenance of libraries. The library cess, as it is called, amounts to about Rs 40-45 crore.
The Hyderabad Grandhalaya Samstha maintains 85-90 libraries and most of these libraries are housed in buildings belonging to the GHMC.
Officials of the civic body claim that though they have been in touch with all the three chairpersons of the Grandhalaya Samsthas (Hyderabad, Medak and Ranga Reddy) the response has been lukewarm.
GHMC Commissioner M T Krishna said that GHMC is likely to hold a meeting with the three chairpersons soon and come up with concrete measures for improving library services in GHMC limits.
“Our intention is to provide better facilities to the people coming to libraries as they are the knowledge centres for people,” he said.
The GHMC is also planning to establish reading rooms in the Community Halls which are under the control of GHMC. Necessary infrastructure will be created in the identified community halls by holding meetings with the local corporators and ward committees.
GHMC TDP floor leader Singireddy Srinivas Reddy pointed out that the GHMC had been imposing heavy fines and collecting property taxes, including 8 percent towards library cess, for maintenance and development of libraries. “But the money is going only towards payment of salaries.
Instead, they should be taken over by the GHMC and library rooms should be established in the community centres,” he demanded.
The Zilla Grandhalaya Samastha was established as per the APPL Act 1960 under which, the local body should collect library cess and pay it to the Zilla Grandhalaya Samstha.
After the formation of the GHMC in 2007, the library cess is being paid to the Zilla Grandhalaya Samsthas of Hyderabad, Rangareddy and Medak districts.