Unsafe Kanika Library closed for three months

CUTTACK: Students of Ravenshaw University have been deprived of study materials, journals, reference and competitive books as the historic Kanika Library has remained closed for more than three months.
Sources said the university authorities shut the library in July this year after a portion of its ceiling caved in. The ceiling was repaired by Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Odisha (IDCO) in 2011 at a cost of `5.83 lakh. IDCO officials had then claimed that the ceiling will remain safe till 2021. However, seepage from the ceiling was noticed in 2013 following which the authorities wrote to IDCO officials to repair it.

After eight letters written by the university authorities to IDCO between 2013 and 2016, the agency finally repaired the ceiling. However, it again became weak and besides seepage of rain water, chunks of plaster continued to fall on the floor. Ravenshaw University Vice-Chancellor Ishan Kumar Patro said the 100-year-old heritage building is unable to sustain the repair work. “As chunks of plastic continued to fall from the ceiling, making it unsafe for students, we were forced to shut the library,” he added.

The Vice-Chancellor said steps are being taken to start the repair work as soon as possible. “We are holding discussion with different Government agencies including IDCO and PWD and have sought estimate for repair of the building which houses the library,” he added.

Established in 1922 and named after King of Kanika Sri Rajendra Narayan Bhanjadeo, who donated `55,000 for setting up the facility, Kanika Library is considered one of the oldest libraries of the State. Spread over 9,000 square feet, it has a rich collection of around 2.5 lakh books including some rare ones.

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