Roof falling at Kalina library

The pillars, meant to support a structure that holds tons of books, have developed cracks over the years, and ceiling slabs have become loose and look like they will fall any moment.In the last two years over Rs 1.5 crore has been sanctioned in the University budget for the library. However, the money wasn’t used for repairs as that was not its purpose. University authorities say much more would be needed to repair the Britishera structure.
   The library’s head Prathibha Gokhale admitted that the threestoreyed structure needed renovation. “I do agree that the library’s structure needs a face-lift. The structure is weakening and the building cannot take load.” She added, “Our staff is blamed for everything that is wrong here, which is unfair as we are working hard to keep this in shape. We do have some rare books which are not present in the whole of Mumbai.”RARE COLLECTION

Gokhale was referring to 15,000 rare Chinese, Farsi, Sanskrit and Urdu manuscripts, which have been preserved over many years. The authorities as a token of remembrance have also preserved microfilms dated back to the year 1942.
   However, it seems that the Rs 1.5 crore allocated for surface changes to the library too hasn’t been utilised well, if at all. Old and vintage newspapers have been stored in a filthy corner on the second floor and left unattended.
   Rare books, the pride of any library, are causally left on the third floor collecting dust that is fatal to their health. Apart from its 6,99,321 books, the library has collected several dissertations of students over the years.

GREAT PLANS

In 2010, university officials announced plans to make the library state of the art.
   It wanted to introduce smart card facilities, so that students could just use that and swipe to show that they have borrowed a book. Money for photocopying of pages would also be deducted on these cards, making library work a cashless transaction. The library, which has a staff strength of 100, also plans to put up closed circuit television cameras so that students lifting books can be caught.

INTERNAL CRITICISM

However, Sanjay Viaral a member of the university senate said, “When one does not have the basic infrastructure in place and the building is so shaky what is the point of revamping the structure and bringing in fast and instant technology?”

A student below the caved-in ceiling of Jawaharlal Nehru Library at Kalina

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