BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Feb 4: Assam Pradesh Congress today came down heavily on the BJP-led government for the latter’s ‘failure’ to provide free textbooks to around 9 lakh students of government schools in the State.
Assam PCC spokesperson Ritupur Konwar in a statement said that Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on January 5 had declared that free textbooks would be provided to schools with 15-20 days but majority of the students are yet to receive their books.
Due to the immature act of the Sonowal government, the situation has resulted in loss of valuable academic days of schools.
“Due to the administrative immaturity of the Sonowal government and inefficiency of the Education minister Sarma, the government has failed to provide textbooks to the students and pushed them to an uncertain future,” said the APCC spokesperson.
Till last year, the government used to supply free textbooks to the students up to class VIII, while the students of classes IX and X had to buy books. The BJP-led government, after assuming power in May last year, decided to supply textbooks to all students up to class X.
Almost all the students of Bodo-medium schools have not received any textbook. Classes in these schools are not being held because of non availability of textbooks.
Assam State Textbook Production and Publication Corporation (ASTPPC) needs to print 3.25 crore books to provide those free of cost to students of Classes I to X.
However, the corporation has so far been able to print and provide only 1.8 crore books to students due to a shortage of paper. It is yet to print 80 lakh books for Classes IX and X, which means that over 80 per cent of those students have not received textbooks.
More than 30 per cent of students from Classes I to VIII have not received textbooks as the corporation is yet to print 50 lakh books.
Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi earlier had said poor and middle-class students would be the worst sufferers in such situations.
Gogoi had questioned the efficiency of education minister Sarma who claimed that free textbooks would be made available in all the schools across the state by January 1.
The AASU has also accused the state government of committing a crime by not providing textbooks to school students on time. The union has threatened to launch a statewide movement if all the students do not get the books at the earliest.
The APCC has demanded Education minister Sarma to tender an apology to the students, guardians and people of the State for his failure to provide textbooks to the students.