Allegations of deliberate delay in printing of textbooks in the state to benefit private palyers
GN Bureau | June 18, 2015
Kerala is supposed to be the most literate state with high literacy rates. However, the state government has been found wanting on the issue of textbooks shortage.
The academic year began on June but many schools are yet to receive books as the printing has been delayed. The Kerala Lokayukta on Wednesday began hearing into the allegation that the state government-owned presses had deliberately delayed the printing of school textbooks to favour private contractors.
The Lokayukta was informed that the majority of the students studying state syllabus were yet to receive the textbooks for this academic year. The government was well aware that schools would reopen for next academic year as scheduled on June 1. However, the State-owned presses were yet to deliver on the order.
The Kerala Books and Publication Society is responsible for printing text books at an affordable rate.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has admitted that there were lapses in the printing of textbooks, but these would be rectified. The government would look into the issue. The government has now decided to float a short tender for completing the printing of textbooks,
Chandy said there was only one bidder for executing the job and hence, the Cabinet decided to float a short tender. Tender proceedings would be expedited, and the work would be completed soon.
Surprisingly, the chief minister said he was not aware that government presses had been directed to stop the printing work.
Meanwhile, Chandy has asked the people of the state to celebrate this year's Onam by harvesting produce grown in their own households as the vegetables supply from neighbouring Tamil Nadu have been found to contain too much pesticide. During Onam various dishes are prepared using different vegetables as it is the harvest festival and is in August.
Kerala’s food safety officials have been doing rounds of nine districts of TN as 80 per cent of vegetables consumed in Kerala come from Tamil Nadu. The officials reported that the TN farmers were using three to five times the permitted amount of pesticides in growing vegetables.
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