| Shelves stacked with books at Borbam Nabajyoti Puthibharal, the library at Borbam tea estate. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Feb. 6: The success story of a library at Borbam tea estate, off Amguri town in Sivasagar district, has inspired the Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association to seek more such libraries to be set up in the gardens.
The association has decided to urge tea garden managements to provide assistance to set up libraries in the estates for the benefit of children of the tea tribe community.
A library, Borbam Nabajyoti Puthibharal, set up by some youths in a thatched hut at Borbam tea estate 28 years ago, in January 1985, has now become a full-fledged library, functioning in a pucca house provided by the garden authorities.
ATTSA president Prahlad Gowala told The Telegraph that the library was a fine example of the local youths’ initiative to help the community’s children gain knowledge and the garden’s help was an “encouraging step” that should be emulated by other estates.
He said they would request all tea growers’ associations to ask their member gardens to offer help to set up libraries by providing land and house and other possible assistance to youths who may come forward in this regard. “Such a step will go a long way in fostering better management-labour ties because it will contribute to the welfare of the workers’ community,” he added.
Gowalasaid the students’ organisation would urge its branches across the tea belt in the state to encourage youths in gardens to set up libraries by constituting committees.
Debojit Orang, honorary librarian at Borbam, said the library was originally set up in a single-room thatched hut by a group of about 30 college students of the garden, who donated books and magazines from their collection.
A committee, comprising about 30 persons from the estate, was formed to run the library. The present committee, comprising more than 30 old and young representatives from the estate, manages the library.
As children started visiting the library and books were added to it and it gradually served as a platform for other recreational activities like indoor games (carrom, chess) and singing, the garden management renovated the hut into a pucca house after a few years, Orang said.
Initially, children use to read books inside the library. The practice of lending books was introduced later. The books are lent for a week and can be renewed. No reading fee is charged. Contribution in the form of annual membership by the committee members helps to meet the library expenses. The garden company pays the electricity charges.
At present, there are over 2,000 books, newspapers and magazines in the library, many donated by Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library in Calcutta and an army camp in the district. Orang said.
A room was recently constructed for the additional books with the Rs 3 lakh given by Jorhat Lok Sabha MP B.K. Handique from his MP fund, he added.