Manuscripts dating back to several hundred years are in danger of being lost to the public memory with the Allahabad Development Authority (ADA) initiating process to seal premises of Rajkiya Pandulipi Pustakalaya in Allahpur area of the city.
Housed in four two-room flats alloted by the ADA in 1977,the library,governed by the Department of Culture,owes Rs 36 lakh to the authority,due to which the allotment has been cancelled,the ADA officials say.
So far,only one of the flats has been sealed. Other premises will be sealed if the library does not get its allotment restored,as per the norms, an offical informed.
The library officials say the department is waiting for the release of the money which has been approved by top state administration as dues to be paid to the ADA.
Rajkiya Pandulipi Pustakalaya is home to thousands of manuscripts,sourced from various places in the state,particularly the eastern region. Among the popular manuscripts are the undated family tree of Lord Rama and several Sanskrit texts dating back to around 500 years ago.
Speaking to The Indian Express,ADA Zonal Officer,Alok Pandey,said: We have been writing to the library officials about the payment of dues for a long time. They have always dithered on the payment citing one reason or the other. In the last few months,we sent several notices warning them about the cancellation but it still did not put any effort into clearing the dues. Finally,we sealed one of the flats on December 12. Since it has a heritage value,we took care to seal the flat that was least used. We will,however,seal the remaining premises if the dues remain unpaid.
An official with the library said there are around 1,000 manuscripts lying in the sealed flat.
If the premises remain sealed for long,chances are they will be damaged. Many of them are old,delicate and weak, said the official,speaking on the condition of anonymity.
With the allotment cancelled,the library will need to get it restored,or else it will have to vacate the premises.
Library In-charge Ram Awadh Yadav said over the phone: I am in Lucknow to sort out the matter. As far as the manuscripts are concerned,they obviously require a lot of care and regular monitoring. The amount has been cleared but is yet to released. We are sorting out the issue.