The Kushkhali Public Library in Satkhira Sadar was established in 1986 to encourage the local people to read books, but it was permanently closed down in 2016
The Kushkhali Public Library in Satkhira Sadar was established in 1986 with an aim to encourage the local people to read books.
In the beginning, the library was a centre of interest for the literate people of the area. Educated people, especially students from far and wide used to come to the library to quench their thirst for knowledge.
But one of the three rooms of the library is now being used as the office of the local union parishad chairman, while the remaining two have been rented out to a local co-operative organisation.
"My elder brother Abdur Razzak established the library in 1986 on three decimals of land. At that time, he was the chairman of Kushkhali union parishad and a professor at Kolaroa College. The three-room library had a collection of six to seven thousand books," said Rayhan Biswas, former chairman of Kushkhali union.
He said, "The library was well active till 2002. The activity started to slow down later. I tried to revitalise the library in 2011 when I was elected as the chairman of the union parishad. It got registered in 2014."
"But the library was permanently closed down in 2016 after I failed to get re-elected to the union parishad. The new chairman Shafiqul Islam Shyamal started to use the library as his office," he added.
Binyak Chandra Roy, a grandson of Bikendra Nath Roy, the person who gave the land for the library, said, "My grandfather gave the land before his death. But now the activities of the library are completely stopped. The chairman is using a room as his office. He rented out two other rooms to a local organisation."
Shafiqul Islam, chairman of Kushkhali union, said, "I am using a room of the library. The former chairman also used the room as his office. The library is closed now."
"I did not close the library. There is a conflict of interests concerning the matter. That is why the library could not be reopened," he added.
A local organisation named Kushkhali Bohumukhi Somabay is using two rooms of the library as their office. Abul Bashar, director of the organisation, said, "We started our activities in 2004. The library was closed then. We tried to re-open the library. But the chairman was not interested."
He said if the library starts again they will shift our organisation somewhere else.
S M Mostofa Kamal, the deputy commissioner of Satkhira, said, "The administration will take necessary steps if the local people take any initiative to re-open the library. We will evict any office currently running in the library."