The Maharashtra government has asked all urban local bodies to set aside space within their jurisdiction where Marathi books will be exclusively sold. The venture is part of the state government’s plan to promote Marathi literature and preserve Marathi culture.
The state government has passed an order whereby it has asked all urban local bodies to set aside a minimum space of 500 to 1000 sq feet in their jurisdiction. This space should be rented at nominal rate to individuals who should be selling exclusively Marathi literature.
“The idea behind the proposal is to ensure that readers even in small towns have access to Marathi books. The land price makes up a bulk of cost of a book store. By providing space on minimal rent we will help in nurturing the habit of reading in people,” a senior state government official said. The BJP-Shiv Sena government, soon after it took over the helm of the state, promised to take steps to preserve Marathi literature.
The government also had plans of setting up two or three “towns of books”. The idea is to equip selected villages with about 2 lakh books across genres. The state government will choose about 40-50 houses in each village and take a room in each of these houses on rent. These rooms would then be filled with books of all types.
However, 80 per cent of the book collection, which the state government would partly buy and partly stock up by asking people to donate, would be in Marathi and the rest would comprise works from all other languages, he added.
The proposal was mooted in July by Education and Culture Minister Vinod Tawde. However nothing concrete has come out of the plan so far.