A 250-crore text book scandal surfaces in U P before assembly election
- A total of 13.21 crore books with 110 titles were to be distributed latest by July.
- The cost of the project is more than Rs 250 crore.
- The tender for the supply of paper was revised twice apparently to match the specifications of a particular company.
- In 2015-16, the printing cost was Rs 1.04 which was raised to Rs 1.38 in 2016-17.
- The tender was first invited in February but was revised twice before finally invited on April 17, 2016, according to Amrendra Singh , the officer in charge of text books of SSA.
- The company shortlisted had been low performer in production of water mark paper required for the text books.
- The revised condition for the mill to have daily production of 200 MT of water mark paper enabled a company to participate which was in no position to supply paper for the books to be published.
- Several firms were rejected to accommodate Hindustan Paper Corporation, the paper supplier company.
- A publisher , on the condition of anonymity, revealed that they had no paper to publish.
- Alleged that in order to award contract to a particular company, the tender conditions were changed.
- They were asked to give printed books within 75 days but in the case of non-receipt of paper, the books could not be published by even September.
- Now, the publishers face the black listing while the defaulter is the paper supplier company.
- Some influential person from Ghaziabad negotiated on behalf of the company and allegedly some big money exchanged hands.
- The state project director of SSA G S Priyadarshi passed on the buck on Text Books officer Amrendra Singh.
- He says the tender process was executed by Amrendra Singh and the financial controller of SSA was also the member of tender committee.
- The SSA head ,however, admitted that as per the rules, books should have reached the children.
- ... yes, the Hindustan Paper Corporation could not supply paper during August.
- Only 60 per cent of the books have so far been printed.
- Twenty two publishers were engaged in printing.
- The process is delayed while the children are suffering.
Secretary Basic Education, UP government Ajay Kumar Singh admitted that there was inordinate delay in distribution of books.
- He had no satisfactory reply as how would they compensate the loss of poor children.
- He seeks to pass on the mantle on the Director, Basic Education saying it has been his responsibility.
- Though admits that it was a default on the part of the paper supplier company.
- Will evolve a mechanism to ensure timely distribution of text books next year.
Meanwhile, a cursory survey by NewsTrack team in various districts including the state capital of Lucknow , the children are facing lot of problems and the authorities have been belying the claims of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.