Project Of College E-Libraries In Limbo As Inquiry Under Way Into ‘Embezzlement Of Funds’

According to the statement, the Government Premier College Karachi spent Rs740,850 without tendering an advertisement for setting up an E-Libraries at the college. 

Project of college e-libraries in limbo as inquiry under way into ‘embezzlement of funds’

By Arshad Yousafzai

The fate of setting up e-libraries at public colleges, a decision that was taken last year by the Sindh government, is hanging in the balance as the Directorate Colleges Sindh recently initiated an inquiry against the principals of 16 public colleges into alleged embezzlement in the funds allocated for digital libraries, The News has learnt.

Introducing a capacity building programme for college libraries last year, the Sindh college education department had announced that e-libraries would be established in 57 colleges of the province with each district having at least two of such libraries.

Later, the provincial government allocated Rs2.38 million for each library in the budget of the fiscal year 2020-2021. Up till now, the finance department has released about 50 per cent of the allocated amount.

However, it was noted in the official statement of college-wise expenditure regarding the establishment of digital libraries that around 16 colleges had used the released funds without following the instructions given by the department. Neither did those colleges publish tenders nor did they show heads of expenses in complete neglect of the procurement rules.

According to the statement, the Government Premier College Karachi spent Rs740,850 without tendering an advertisement for setting up an e-library at the college. The principals of two boys degree colleges in Thatta used Rs90,388 and Rs68,500 respectively without following the rules.

The other colleges where the money for the e-libraries was spent in violation of the rules included the Government Boys Degree College Dadu, Government Girls Degree College Qasimabad, Government Girls Degree College Sujawal, Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government College for Women Karachi, Government Degree Girls College Shaheed-e-Millat Karachi, Government Degree College Girls Jacobabad, Government Boys & Girls Degree College Kandhkot, Government Girls College Qambar-Shahdadkot, Ibn-e-Rushd Girls College Mirpurkhas, Government Boys Degree College Umerkot, Government Girls Degree College Umerkot, Government Degree Boys College Sukkur and Government Girls Degree College Sukkur.

After the official statement appeared on the web portal of the college education department, the department’s secretary summoned the colleges director general (DG) to present a progress report on the e-library. However, the DG found that the colleges had not taken any steps to set up e-libraries.

An inquiry against the said management of the said colleges was then initiated, the report of which is expected to be presented to the college education secretary within a few days.

At present, around 147 colleges are functioning under the college education department. In these colleges, the department has set up 127 libraries with a total of 1.14 million books. However, only 16 such libraries have internet faculties.

Also, as many as 57 libraries in 63 colleges of the Hyderabad region, 25 libraries in 28 colleges of the Larkana region, 14 libraries in 21 colleges of the Mirpurkhas region, 20 libraries in 28 colleges of the Shaheed Benazirabad region, and 23 libraries in 40 colleges of the Sukkur region are functioning but they also cannot be accessed through the internet.

Originally published at The news international

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