Home / West-bengal / 2 lakh textbooks for government aided schools go missing

2 lakh textbooks for government aided schools go missing

Police arrested one contractual employee who worked as storekeeper at godown
The godown of the primary school department where the textbooks are stored at Hospitalpara in Islampur of North Dinajpur
The godown of the primary school department where the textbooks are stored at Hospitalpara in Islampur of North Dinajpur
Kousik Sen

Kousik Sen   |   Raiganj   |   Published 04.12.22, 04:14 AM

Around two lakh copies of textbooks, which were supposed to be distributed among students in state government–aided primary schools, have “disappeared” from the godown of the district primary education department at Islampur town in North Dinajpur district.

When the issue came to light, an official of the department filed a complaint with police on Friday. Police arrested a contractual employee who worked as the storekeeper at the godown the same day. He was produced in court on Saturday. A probe is on.


Sources said that a few days back, a directive reached the districts from the state education department that the textbooks the government gave free of cost to students in state-aided schools would be distributed from January 2 next year for the academic session to start the same month.

On December 1, Subhankar Nandi, the sub-inspector of schools (primary) of Islampur circle, visited the godown in Hospitalpara to check the stock of textbooks.

During his visit, he found around two lakh copies of textbooks of subjects like Bengali, English, mathematics and science were missing.

“Altogether, around 2.15 lakh copies of various books were sent by the state education department to Islampur circle for the primary schools,” said a source.

Nandi informed the district inspector of schools (primary) about the “disappearance” of textbooks and filed a complaint with Islampur police.

In his complaint, Nandi said Bhim Mondal, a contractual employee, has been working as storekeeper of the godown since 2017.

“Every year, he receives books from the education department and distributes them to schools. I have informed the police that he is a prime suspect,” said the sub-inspector of schools.

Based on his complaint, police arrested Mondal. 

Mondal told newspersons outside the Islampur court on Saturday:  “Some others are involved. I am wrongly implicated.”

The incident made a number of teachers point out that such books are in demand among private primary schools, especially in suburban and rural areas.

“These private schools buy the books at a lower price, and in turn, sell those among their students. It is clear that the books have been stolen. We suspect those associated with the theft wanted to make a fast buck,” said a senior schoolteacher in Raiganj.

The theft of books from a government godown has also drawn flak from the All Bengal Primary Teachers’ Association (ABPTA), a Leftist teachers’ organisation.

“It is an organised crime, not the act of a single person. We want a comprehensive investigation of the case. The police should also find out whether the books had reached the godown or vanished midway,” said Raghupati Mukherjee, an ABPTA leader in North Dinajpur.

Many teachers wondered if primary students of Islampur will at all receive textbooks on January 2. “The education department should probe why a contractual employee was the storekeeper,” said one primary teacher.

Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.