CHENNAI: Noting that the duty of the government did not end with creating a state-of-the-art library, but to ensure that it was maintained properly and updated regularly, the Madras High Court on Monday directed the State government to maintain and upgrade the Anna Centenary Library, Chennai according to the court's directive.
The first Bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam issued the order after perusing the report filed by a two-member committee appointed by the court to inspect the library, which is considered one of Asia's largest library.
A city resident V Manonmani moved a PIL before the High Court stating that the library which was set up at a cost of `172 crore in 2007 with world class features, now was paralyzed because of poor maintenance.
The petitioner's counsel P Wilson submitted that the authorities had even stopped buying books and had shut down the air-conditioning system. Four elevators in wing A and wing B were not working.
On August 24, the court appointed advocates TP Asha and M Sunder as advocate commissioners to inspect the library.
When the petition came up for hearing on Monday, the Bench said, "We have perused the report of the two-member commission and the photographs submitted along with it. We really appreciate the work done by the commission in submitting an exhaustive report on all aspects of deficiency."
"We may note that the problem is not so aggravated as we initially perceived, but it is the case of lack of regular maintenance and upgradation, a task not difficult for the government to perform," the Bench added.
Pointing out the suggestions made by the commission to generate revenue for the library, the judges said, "This is possible by renting out the facilities of auditorium, conference halls, seminar halls, amphi-theater. It is sad to see these facilities have been kept closed and one of the reasons for deterioration appears to be the lack of facilities."
Asserting that the court would not hesitate to direct the authorities to implement all recommendations in a time-bound manner, the Bench said, "We direct the government to prepare a schedule for carrying out necessary work and to submit a compliance report to the court from time to time."
The Bench further posted the matter for compliance to September 15, the birth date of Anna whose name the library bears.