Cuttack, May 30: The Orissa Board of Secondary Education (BSE) has finalised a one-year contract with India Post for selling Class IX and X textbooks for this academic session at post offices across the state.
Board secretary Nihar Ranjan Mohapatra told The Telegraph: “We expect to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) within the next two days and receive the requisition from the chief postmaster-general, Orissa circle, within a week for supply of textbooks,” he said.
The MoU, the terms of which were finalised yesterday, is the board’s way of breaking free from the stranglehold of wholesellers who often resort to strikes leading to delays in supplying textbooks.
“According to the terms agreed upon, the textbooks will be provided at a subsidy of 12 per cent to the postal department which will arrange for their transportation and sale through its network of post offices,” Mohapatra said.
Postal department officials said textbooks would be available at 35 head post offices and 35 mukhya dak ghars across Orissa. Sets of textbooks would be passed on to other post offices only on demand.
With no let-up in the boycott by the Orissa Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Association for the past two months, the board had opened counters at its headquarters in Cuttack and zonal offices at Berhampur, Balasore, Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar to ensure textbooks were available for Class IX and X students.
While there are nearly nine lakh students in Class IX and X, more than six lakh, especially in rural parts of the state, have so far had no access to books two months after the academic session began.
The 1,000-odd high school textbook wholesellers registered under the board have not procured books as a mark of protest against the board’s move to drop optional subjects this year after they were introduced in 2008.
The wholesellers are now demanding that they be allowed to exchange the textbooks of the optional subjects with the new ones this year.