The Maharashtra government will develop a ‘village of books’ in each district on the lines of Britain’s ‘Hay-On-Wye’, the famous town of books. It has earmarked Rs 50 lakh per village for implementation of the idea.
Subhash Desai, Marathi language minister, said the aim behind creating such villages is to inculcate reading habit among the people, especially children. The Hay-On-Wye town has received international acclaim. “On a similar line, we want to work on this concept to spread Marathi language and culture on a global platform,” Desai said.
According to the Marathi language department, initially the village of books will be started in six administrative regions of Maharashtra and later it will be implemented in each district. “The government has decided to extend all possible help to develop the infrastructure and other facilities in the designated villages. Small libraries and bookshelves will be set up in at least 10 prominent spots of the chosen villages,” said a government official.
While identifying the villages for the project, the ones that have a traditional legacy or are already a known tourist spot, or are cultural/pilgrimage/historical sites will be preferred. “The village should have won the awards in cleanliness and other state government competitions such as strife-free village. It should have a lot of greenery,” he said.
The district collectors have been told to ensure that the villagers participate in this movement actively. “They should offer their space to set up the libraries. The government will provide the funds to develop the places and each spot will get `5 lakh to buy furniture, books etc.,” said the official