CDGK’s Archive & Research Department

Only four officials deputed to sort out city’s 138-year-old records
* Department was set up last year, but CDGK has yet to increase official strength
* Slow progress on updating massive records

By Jamil Khan | KARACHI

THE City District Government Karachi’s Archives and Research Department has been understaffed since it was formed and this is causing a massive delay in the sorting and compiling of Karachi’s historical documented records which are over 130 years old, Daily Times learnt on Monday.
The officials associated with the department have been repeatedly requesting the government for a librarian, researchers and helpers, but the staff consists of only four people since last year. The department was created through the resolution No. 229 on June 16, 2007, passed by the City Council, with a total of 22 posts to sort out thousands of historical documents dumped in different parts of the City Council Secretariat (old KMC Building) located on M.A. Jinnah Road.
The records contains old maps and blueprints of different localities of old Karachi, official documents, roadmaps, survey reports, books, magazines, correspondence letters, official gazettes covering almost all regimes of the British Raj since 1870 and later from the partition till the year 2001when the new local government system was introduced.
The district officer responsible for the archives and research department has repeatedly asked for more staff to set up different sections of the department but as no new staff has been hired, most of the work is still pending.
“Initially we hired some officials on a daily basis to start shifting about 1,000 plastic sacks containing documents which had been dumped on the rooftop of the city council building and were noticed by the City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil when she inspected the building two years ago,” one of the officials said.
He mentioned that they had transported all the sacks and over 60 percent of the documents that were sorted were packed in plastic sacks but the speed of sorting the documents has been low due to the lack of a workforce.
“Last week City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil chaired a meeting with the human resource department of the city government and directed them for deputing some staff so the pace of work increases but no progress has been seen,” sources in the city council secretariat said.
When the Human Resource Department District Officer Abdul Jabbar was approached he told Daily Times that no proposal was discussed to send any official for the Archive and Research Department. “Presently, the government has banned all new recruitments and the vacant seats will be filled after the ban is lifted,” he said.
The District Officer and Director Archive and Research Department told Daily Times that they were trying their level best to sort out all the documents, maps, blueprints and other papers that were found in the sacks on war footing basis.
“We have also started work on the computerization of documents being found randomly and soon all maps, blueprints, survey reports and other historical papers will be computerized,” he said.
It is also mentioned that the department has recently procured a vacuum fumigation chamber which will clean the layers of dust and other materials that have accumulated on the documents over the decades.
“The fumigation chamber was purchased from a local firm with the estimated cost of Rs 0.9 million and this machine has been used to clean a large number of documents without extravagant expenditure,” one of the officials said.
He further mentioned that they had planned to purchase a number of other machines related to archive and research department in the current year.
-Published in Daily Times | Oct 28, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on October 28, 2008.

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