Official says foundation selling textbooks at a discount against HQ instructions.
PESHAWAR: National Book Foundation is working on establishing a garden in upcoming months near the NBF building where people can come and read. The space can also be used to host community events. The garden will be set up at a cost of Rs0.1 million on a 14-kanal plot located near the NBF office in Hayatabad Phase V.
While this plan and another for a two-day exhibition are an addition to an ongoing membership drive; there are some hiccups in the current implementation of the latter.
The membership scheme for NBF which was initiated on September 21 by Regional Director Murad Ali provides a 55% discount on books purchased at the city branch of the foundation. According to officials, in violation of headquarter instructions, NBF in Peshawar was selling a wide range of textbooks as part of the scheme as well. Students are able to purchase textbooks on engineering, medical, literature, religions, etc at less than half the cost throughout the province.
For instance, if a book costs Rs1,400, non-member students purchase it at a 30% discount (Rs980), while registered members purchase it at a 55% discount (Rs630). Each membership card comes with an annual limit of Rs5,000.
Ali said, “At least 5,200 members registered in 2014; only 789 have registered so far this year. We have a quota for 1,200 members,” said Ali. The director added they will request for an additional quota once they reach the limit.
He said K-P has the highest membership. Previously, NBF arranged exhibitions in Fata, war zones, PAF bases, schools and university campuses of K-P. The two-day membership event will be held on October 27 and 28 to expand the scope of books in schools and colleges of Khar, Bajaur Agency.
From Ahmad Faraz to date
NBF was established in 1972 for medical and engineering students to purchase their books. Since then health-related and general books were added in the collection.
In 1994, Ahmed Faraz took over NBF, adding Urdu literature into the collection. The department has enhanced significantly over the years and community-based activities have also increased.
Library on wheels
Mobile vehicles carrying books travel from one corner of the city to another with the aim of increasing book accessibility.
The provincial government provided two vehicles to continue the project. The inauguration ceremony was held by Peshawar DC Riaz Mehsud and a No Objection Certificate was issued on the occasion.
Additionally, three tables and umbrellas are placed at multiple spots with a display of books for locals. It was said the Books on Wheel project generates the most revenue in the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2015.