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Building Future From Ruins: Jamtara Deputy Commissioner Turns Abandoned Government Buildings Into Libraries

Jamtara's Deputy Commissioner Faiz Aq Ahmed Mumtaz is turning abandoned government buildings into libraries to facilitate learning among rural youth.

An IAS officer in Jharkhand's Jamtara has decided to use the idea of 'recycling' to motivate the locals to read and write.

Deputy Commissioner Faiz Aq Ahmed Mumtaz is turning abandoned government buildings into libraries to facilitate learning among rural youth. As many as 30 such buildings have already gone through a makeover under different panchayats of the district, The New Indian Express reported that

The officer said that he is trying to resolve multiple issues with renovated libraries. Stopping migration of students to cities and towns; making use of the unused buildings; inculcating a sense of togetherness and community building, are some of the goals Ahmed wants to achieve through the effort.

The libraries have a general set of books and are equipped with chairs, tables and other amenities obtained through crowd-funding and under the Corporate Social Responsibility funds.

After the dilapidated structure is refurbished, the libraries are then handed over to local villagers for day-to-day management by forming a committee. The move is especially beneficial for the girls whose parents are reluctant to send them to cities for higher education.

The publication further pointed out that the idea originated when the officer was holding a 'janta darbar' in Chengadih panchayat. A villager while pointing at the lack of education facilities said the library could benefit the younger generation since they do not have the means to travel to nearby towns for competitive exam preparations.

"I thought in every gram panchayat, there is at least one government building which remains unused. I started renovating these buildings into community libraries. A first such library was set up at Chengaidih panchayat on November 13 last year," said Ahmed.

"One bank account has been opened for each library which will help the local committee to raise funds through donations and other means," he added.

The success and acceptance of the model prompted him to expand the initiative to all 118 panchayats in Jamtara. "Reading and education should be given more importance and a library culture should be developed and promoted with community participation. Once this model is successful and a culture of reading develops among rural youths, inter-library competitions could be organized in order to provide a better learning environment to the people," Ahmed shared.

While Jamtara is infamous for cyber crimes, Ahmed believes that education can play a major role in creating awareness and putting a stop to the digital frauds in the city.

"Jamtara is notorious for cyber crimes. My initiative can help in removing the 'hub of cyber-crimes' tag. Cyber-crimes possibly spread due to the lack of education in the region," said the Deputy Commissioner.

"We must thank the deputy commissioner for the precious gift to Chengadih panchayat. We had to travel long distances to get a book," said Nasiruddin Ansari, a student. He mentioned that the library provided them with competitive study material, thereby, saving time and money.

Ashraf Ali, another student, stated the library had given new hope to the youths in his village. "The library in Chengadih has brought about a positive change among the youths; they are now more serious about books and their studies," Ali said.

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Writer : Palak Agrawal
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