National Archive of India New Delhi; with centers in Jaipur, Bhopal, Puducherry and Bhubaneswar

The website of the National Archives is http://nationalarchives.nic.in/. The page for the Bhubaneswar record center is http://nationalarchives.nic.in/WebContent.aspx?id=8&type=homemore. Following is from that page:

The Eastern Zone Records Centre of National Archives of India was set up on 1 March 1996 in Bhubaneswar with a view to cater to the need of 12 states in eastern and north-east India and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Centre at present is functioning in a rented building. The Government of Orissa has provided 2.29 acres of land on ex-gratia basis in Madhusudan Nagar, a prime location in the city for construction of its functional building. The construction of the building has already been assigned to CPWD.

The Centre at present houses approximately 40,000 files, registers, loose documents, bound volumes, copied and plam-leaf manuscripts, rare books and many other items. Its library also consists of more than 1,000 books, journals and Gazette of India. The details of record holding follows:

How to Reach: The Centre is functioning in a rented building in Shatabdi Nagar, Unit 8 which is five kilometers from Railway Station, three kilometers from Bhubaneswar Bus Terminus and four kilometers from the Biju Pattnaik Airport. It is located in a lane connecting the main road between Siripur Square and Delta Square. The list of records holdings of Records Center, Bhubaneswar follows:

a. Public Records

b. Private Papers

c. Library Holdings

The complete postal address is as follows:

For R.T.I. Telephone/Fax  0674-2560043

National Archives of India, Records Centre (Eastern Zone)
1078-79/ 3355-56, Shatabdi Nagar, Unit-8, P.O. – Baramundaa Colony
Bhubaneswar – 751 003
E-mail: nai@ori.nic.in

Following is an excerpt from a report in Times of India which suggests that the National Archive and its centers will be more accessible now. With the eastern zone record center in Bhubaneswar this will benefit people of Odisha a lot.

… The National Archives holds detailed administrative records from the time Akbar sat on the throne in Delhi in the 16th and 17th centuries to the present. In addition, there are thousands of private papers, such as letters written by stalwarts like Dadabhai Naoroji to Shrinivas Ramanujam, the great mathematician. There are also the so-called Oriental Records, which refer to revenue grants made by Mughal rulers and treatises maintained by their court historians.

Under the present laws, only a ‘research scholar’ can read anything kept in the National Archives. This too involves a considerable amount of red tape, as a person must fill up a form to show s/he is enrolled in a recognised university and doing genuine academic work related to the subject. Consequently, most people can’t view such historical records.

Now, a review panel constituted by the National Archives has suggested certain changes to the Public Records Act of 1993, which governs access to such records. Firstly, it has proposed that the term ‘research scholar’ be replaced with ‘user’, so that ordinary citizens too can ask to see documents kept in the archives. Secondly, people will be given readers’ tickets so that they can enter the premises of the National Archives. That documents as fascinating as the original court proceedings of Bhagat Singh’s trial or field reports filed by British military officers in 19th-century Aawadh may soon be in the public domain should bring special cheer to writers, scriptwriters, filmmakers and other professionals who would be able to get first-hand access to primary sources on which they may base their work.

Another change in the law suggests that government departments declassify documents and transfer them to the National Archives within 20 years of their creation, and not 25 as is the case now. This would also harmonise this particular law with the Right to Information Act, which says that even documents exempted from the public domain should be made available two decades after their creation. "It was observed that records from the post-Independence period were not being transferred to the National Archives by various government departments," said a culture ministry official.

2 comments May 12th, 2010


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