The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Job-on-time whip for library staff

Ramanuj Bhattacharjee, newly-appointed officer on special duty (OSD) at the National Library, has initiated measures to enforce discipline among employees. He has asked them to go about their job by the clock. Bhattacharjee joined the library on Wednesday and is also functioning as its director.

Bhattacharjee has asked employees’ association leaders not to leave the library compound during scheduled working hours. He said on Friday he had issued special instructions to employees to serve library-users with efficiency and sincerity.

Till Wednesday, Shyamal Kanti Chakraborty, director of the Indian Museum, was also functioning as director of the National Library. It was becoming increasingly difficult for Chakraborty to look after the two important portfolios. So, the ministry of human resources development assigned Bhattacharjee to look after the library.

The library has had no full-time director for the past 10 years. Chakraborty has been in charge for the past three years. It is learnt that Bhattacharjee will look after the job permanently, after his assignment at the Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation in the city is over.

“I have received reports that many users do not get photocopies of valuable documents. I have instructed employees to ensure that readers receive them within 24 hours of applying for them,” he added.

Employees and officers were asked to start special drives to computerise 2.5 million documents with the library. About 200,000 books have not yet been catalogued and “we have to finish the pending job immediately,” Bhattacharjee said.

General secretary Saibal Chakraborty of the National Library Staff Association said the employees were happy with the OSD’s decision to restore discipline. “We want to work, but some officers shirk work themselves and encourage the practice,” he alleged.

Bhattacharjee plans to celebrate the centenary of the library in a grand manner. “I have urged the postal department to release a commemorative stamp on the occasion of the centenary, to be celebrated throughout the year,” he said. He has already contacted some experts to design a centenary logo.

As a part of its centenary celebrations, exhibitions in different metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai will be organised, highlighting the functioning of the library since its inception. There is also a plan to organise an international seminar on the role of national libraries in serving the country and its people. The celebrations begin in April and continue till March 2004.

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