Left over 17 lakh pages of archival record to be digitized by Jammu Smart City Ltd

Entire record excluding sensitive one to be put in public domain

State-of-the-art building to come up near Kala Kendra

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 18: In a major initiative, the Jammu Smart City Limited will digitize 17 lakh pages of archival record of Jammu in a time bound manner and thereafter all the 55 lakh pages excluding the sensitive and confidential ones will be put in the public domain. Moreover, a state-of-the-art Archives Building will come up on a piece of land situated near Kala Kendra.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that keeping in view the deteriorating condition of the archival record of Jammu, the Government started digitization of pages in the year 2010-11 from a Delhi-based company. In the Phase-I, a total of 1,20,000 pages were digitized while as in the Phase-II (2012) 8,04,558 pages while as in the Phase-III (2014-15) 29,64,176 pages were digitized.
With this out of total 55 lakh pages of archival record of Jammu, 38,88,734 pages were digitized in three phases. However, thereafter the exercise came to the standstill as successive Governments failed to sanction sufficient funds for this vital exercise.
As the condition of left-over 17 lakh pages is deteriorating constantly, the Board of Directors of Jammu Smart City Limited in its 10th meeting decided to digitize the remaining record in a time bound manner, sources said, adding “at present the Jammu Smart City Limited is in the process of floating tenders for this task and for uploading the entire digitized record on the server”.
“All the pages which were digitized in three phases have already been uploaded in the State Data Centre of National Informatics Centre (NIC) but the same have not been put in the public domain for want of scrutiny of the sensitive and confidential record”, sources informed, adding “after digitization of remaining 17 lakh pages the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museum will conduct scrutiny of the entire record and confidential ones will be removed from the State Data Centre”.
Stating that e-archiving and digitization is one of the first steps toward creating electronic environment on which e-Government is based, sources said that digital catalogue, software for library management, setting up of 20 users with dedicated computer systems both for archives and reference library, air conditioning, digital cameras, RFID tagging for reference library books and CCTV cameras for real time monitoring are the important components of e-archives and e-reference library.
According to the sources, the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums had purchased five kanals of land at Rajinder Vihar near Bantalab several years back for construction of new archives building on modern and scientific lines. However, later the site was found unsuitable for establishing the archives repository for not being centrally located and away from the hub of the main city.
“Since, the archival record is mostly used by students, scholars, historians, art lovers and public at large, the location of the repository assumes significance and accordingly it was felt that it should be situated somewhere near educational institutions or Civil Secretariat”, sources said, adding “the matter came up for threadbare discussions during 10th Board of Directors meeting of Jammu Smart City Limited and now land adjacent to the Kala Kendra has been proposed for the same for being centrally located”.
They further said, “the Superintending Engineer, PWD (R&B) has been requested to prepare the plans of the building as early as possible so that the execution of the building, which is the dire need of the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museum, can be taken up”.
It is pertinent to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir occupies a unique place in India so far as archival records/historical documents are concerned. The Archives Repository Jammu is custodian of over more than six lakh historical documents, files, administrative reports, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, census reports, various commission reports, gazettes, gazetteers, council orders, cabinet proceedings and land assessment reports etc.