NT News Service
Mapusa, May 16: Expressing concern over the government’s plans to give free textbooks to school students upto class VIII, the Goa Book Sellers Association has appealed to the government to compensate them or at least to route the books through them on a coupon system.
Talking to The Navhind Times, Association president Chandrakant Pandit said, “There are about 100 book sellers in Goa. Ours is a registered body doing business for the last 30 years. Now the government has suddenly changed to the NCERT syllabus without taking us into confidence. We have huge stocks of the old books. Either the government must compensate us or route the new book through us.”
Appeals have been sent to chief ministe rPratapsing Rane as well as to the Minister for Education, Mr Luizinho Faleiro. The appeals note that not only will free text books be given to students from class I to class IV under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme, but also a change in syllabus for classes I, III, VI, IX, XI to NCERT syllabus for the year 2006-07 will result in old books lying unsold.
“Normally we booksellers are intimated at least two years in advance about any proposed change so that we can liquidate our stocks. Now if the new syllabus is implemented without advance notice to booksellers, who are in possession of stocks of about 4500 copies of each title of each standard, the value of these books will be nil. Our plea is that we should be reimbursed for the value of the physical stocks that we hold as on date,” the appeal states.
The booksellers have also suggested that the free text books can be routed through them on a coupon system. This would at least minimise the losses to be incurred because of the change of text books of classes I, III and the stocks held by the booksellers for classes II, IV could be encashed in view that these books would be changed in the year 2007-08. The actual working of this system can be worked out mutually, the association has suggested.
Said Pandit, “We register and pay our fees to the Goa Board every year. In fact, the Board takes a five per cent advance which we have paid even this year. Each of the booksellers have about 7-8 workers. We will suffer huge losses if the government does not heed our appeal.”
The Goa Book Sellers Association has also complained that schools in Goa continue to sell note books and stationary items under the banner of the Parent-Teacher Association. The association has pointed out that even though there is a direction from the High Court in 2002 banning such practice and even though the department of education has issued circulars to schools forbidding such sales, schools still continue the practice. The Association has prayed that the government issue instructions to schools not to discontinue this practice immediately.
Chairman of the Education Committee of the Goa Chamber of Commerce Blaise CostaBir has also written to the Education Minister supporting the booksellers and reiterating their demand that at least the new books should be routed through the booksellers on the coupon system.