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SPS Library: 14 years of construction and now an unending wait for inauguration

Srinagar, Aug 29: Sri Pratap Singh Library, the construction of which took over a decade, has been awaiting inauguration for the last two months.

Constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 31 crore and spread over 55,000 square feet, the largest public library in Kashmir missed several deadlines over more than 14 years it took to complete.

“We are still waiting for its inauguration, after which it will be thrown open officially for the public,” said an official.

Director General Libraries Jammu and Kashmir, Shamim Ahmad Leharwal, told The Kashmir Monitor that the library would be inaugurated “within a few days” by the governor.

“It was delayed as the governor was changed,” he said, not explaining how the recent change of guard could have affected the inauguration.

The delay is nothing new to the multi-crore project that was caught in a series of issues ever since the construction began in 2004.

Hit with paucity of funds, a court stay for three years, the project finally concluded a few months ago only to be again delayed for the want of inauguration.

District Library at Habba Kadal and City Central Library at Karan Nagar here were merged into the new SPS library.

“Due to the shortage of space in both the libraries, we have merged them. Now, they will run under one big umbrella,” said the Chief Librarian, IshratMajeed.

The six-floor library’s eye-catching structure houses as many as 90,000 books on varied subjects.

The books are classified into various sections according to the standard Dewey Decimal Classification, which ensures a sections each for senior citizens, reading, reference, and children.

In addition to other sections, the library has an art gallery, auditorium, fire-proof blocks for manuscripts, exhibition hall, and a cafeteria.