Patiala: While most of government schools from across the state have been thronging the Punjab language department here for the purchase of library books at cheaper rates, but, surprisingly, not a single government school from the district has come forward to purchase any book from the department so far. The department has been offering 50% discount on every book.
According to information, 70 government schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have purchased books worth Rs 6,000 for Rs 3,000 from the department. However, not a single school from Patiala figures in the list of purchasers.
An official of the language department, seeking anonymity, said, "School authorities from far-flung districts including Fazilka, Moga, Ludhiana and even rural areas of the state have come and purchased books from the department as we have the best book collection, including encyclopaedias at the cheapest rate".
"However, not a single school from the district of Patiala has come forward to purchase of books", he added.
Director of the department Balbir Kaur also admitted to the fact that schools from the district had failed to approach the department.
It is pertinent to mention here that primary encyclopaedia for class V, is available at Rs 98 in the department, whereas in the open market it costs Rs 500. Similarly, there are many books and dictionaries of both English and Punjabi which cost peanuts when compared to their prices in the market.
When authorities from various schools of the district were contacted, they took refuge in the contention that they were not aware of the fact that the department was selling books at cheapest rates.
Rather, they also defended their negligence by citing bizarre reasons. One of the teachers, who is also member of the book purchase committee, blamed her higher authorities and said, "I was told to purchase books from the book fair. Decisions regarding the purchase of books are taken by our principal", she added.
According to records, there are 466 primary schools in the district under the education department. And every school under the SSA scheme has been allocated Rs 3,000 fund to purchase library books.
However, when contacted regarding the matter, primary district education officer (DEO) Surinder Pal Singh, said, "Every school has a 12-member committee, which includes parents, teachers and other school authorities who are responsible for the purchase of library books, we have no role to play in their purchase. It is purely decision of the school."