Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday said the state education department had started a wrong precedent by forcing government school students to buy notebooks printed by a single publisher.
Replying to media queries regarding the department having got practical notebooks printed from a particular publisher on the pretext of supplying subsidised notebooks to students,Badal said the government had no business to get into printing notebooks. The matter was brought to me notice last evening and I will ask the education minister to look into the matter, he added.
The department had forced 14 lakh secondary and senior secondary students of government schools to buy practical notebooks printed by one particular private publisher.
A brainchild of Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka,the said publisher was allegedly chosen through a tendering process undertaken mid-session in August last year. While better and cheaper practical notebooks available in open market,the students are being asked by teachers to buy only the government approved notebooks.
These notebooks have been published using the seal and logo of the Punjab government on the cover. Having given monopoly rights to a single printer who stands to earn crores from a niche market the department is also now making sure that practical notebooks of other printers are not bought by government school students.
The text printed in these notebooks too was full of mistakes and following orders by the Punjab and Haryana High Court,the education secretary had called for a report from a three-member committee and issued a showcause notice to the printers.
However,the government is yet to inquire into the manner in which the printing of practical notebooks was tendered out.