CDA, National Library project to have libraries in capital’s residential sectors on the verge of shutdown
Community Libraries project of the capital city is in danger of closing down as the libraries are suffering at the hands of Capital Development Authority (CDA)’s apathy, Pakistan Today has learnt.
In a rare show of its love for books, the CDA, under the chairmanship of Kamran Lashari, in collaboration with National Library of Pakistan, embarked on a commendable project of establishing a community library in each of its residential sectors of Islamabad in 2007. The optimism generated in the book-loving circles of Islamabad due to this project did not last long as soon after Lashari’s transfer, the project lost its momentum and the scorecard of libraries established has frozen at six since 2008.
National Library Director General (DG) Nazir Ahmad told Pakistan Today that his organisation fully implemented its agreed role of providing library staff and books to the community libraries but CDA, after helping to operate six libraries, stopped implementing the agreement signed between both the public organisations.
Narrating CDA’s apathy, Ahmad further told that the CDA did not provide the libraries with basic human amenities of water and washrooms despite the fact that it was clearly its responsibility according to the agreement.
“We have written numerous letters to the CDA for reminding them to act upon their official responsibility of providing basic utilities to the community libraries but our voice was never heard,” Ahmad said.
“I have personally tried to get an appointment for a number of times from different CDA chairmen during the last four years but without luck. We are helpless and clueless as to how we can save this important project from falling apart,” the DG said hopelessly.
During a survey of libraries in Islamabad, the community library established in Sector G-7 presented the worst picture of CDA’s step-motherly treatment with the books and book lovers. Fibre roof of the library partially collapsed in heavy rain in 2010 and till date it has not been repaired by the CDA despite repeated requests made by officials of the library.
“After doing our utmost effort to awaken CDA to its responsibility to the people of Islamabad, we are now beginning to lose our hope as without water and lavatories and absence of necessary repairs, the numbers of visitors to these libraries are diminishing fast,” the National Library DG bemoaned.
“If the indifference of CDA towards the project does not take a turn for the better any time soon then we will have no other option but to close this project. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the CDA wants us to do as many vultures occupying important seats in CDA want to utilise the library spaces for some other lucrative purposes,” the DG lashed out at the CDA.
Ahmad concluded saying, “It will be a real sad end to a very promising beginning that we made in 2007 and it will be a great setback to the book reading people of Islamabad.”
When this scribe tried to contact the CDA chairman and the CDA Member (Environment) for their comments on the issue, they preferred not to talk on “not so important” issue.