Reported by Biswajit Dash
Bhubaneswar, Apr 11:
Though the new academic session has already started, most CBSE schools in Odisha are going without books due to a flourishing racket that has its origins in New Delhi.
Investigations have revealed that authorities of some private schools have cornered the books in connivance with officials at the CBSE headquarters in the national capital.
The school authorities that manage to strike a deal with these brokers get to buy the books six months before the start of the academic session after paying a hefty commission/ Schools that cannot get to these brokers struggle to buy books for their students. Buying book off the shelf is out of question.
Such is the condition that students are looking for used books and are not able to find them due to the steep demand for used books as well.
It is mandatory for schools to use books prescribed by the NCERT and CBSE from Std-IX till Std-XII. However, more than 20 books such as Economics of Std-IX, English of Std-X, Hindi of Std-VI – VIII, Entrepreneurship from Std-IX-XII have completely vanished from the market.
The CBSE authorities are not doing much to make books available either.
“We are providing whatever books we have got in stock. We are selling books per the stocks we receive. If the guardians let us know which specific books they are not able to find in the market, we can get those books for them,” said AS Verma, Director of Regional CBSE office.
The CBSE, however, is not providing books to the school authorities directly; it asks them to get the books from the New Delhi Head office instead. The New Delhi office in turn asks schools to contact the Kolkata regional centre saying the books have already been dispatched there.
The Kolkata office in turn blames it on Odisha distributors and points out that the distributors are not taking the limited stock they have and are demanding a supply of 20 tons at a time. Given their limited supply of books, they say it makes things tough for them.
The distributors in Odisha in turn blame it on profitability.
“We don’t get good commission on these books. There is only 20 percent commission. After you count in the transport expenses, there is no profit. We would have brought in books if we could get a higher price than the printed price,” said a book stall owner.