Textbooks printed in India cost less: Bangladeshi official

Printing of Bangladeshi school textbooks in India cost nearly half of the expense incurred on printing these at home, an official said.

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2010, 16:20 PM IST

Dhaka: Printing of Bangladeshi school textbooks in India cost nearly half of the expense incurred on printing these at home, an official said.

The cost of a book printed abroad was Tk23 ($0.32) whereas the government had to spend Tk44 for a book printed in Bangladesh last year. But the quality of the books printed in Bangladesh is not as good as those printed abroad, said Mostafa Kamal Uddin, chairman of the National Commission for Text Books (NCTB).

Kamal Uddin said some 5.7 million copies of primary textbooks, which got stuck on the Indian border due to traffic jam, will enter the country in a day or two, the Daily Star said Saturday.

A report in the New Age daily earlier this week had said that the books had been delayed by Indian printers. It also quoted some local printers as alleging that Kolkata firms had bribed Bangladeshi officials to win the printing contracts.

Kamal Uddin, however, said the government "saved a considerable amount by getting the books printed through the international tender".

The government floated international tender and some 29.8 million textbooks of class I, II and III were getting printed in India. "The books with thermal laminated covers look neat, colourful and attractive," the official said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate free textbook distribution programme Dec 30 ahead of the Textbook Festival Day which is being observed in the country Jan 1.

Akhtaruzzaman, the convener of a committee formed to monitor printing and distribution of the textbooks, said 83 percent textbooks meant for the primary school students and 97 percent for secondary students have already been reached in various districts, while the rest will be transported by Dec 30.

"There is no scope for any textbook crisis as we have books in buffer stocks this time," he said.

Akhtaruzzaman said that some quarters were active to foil the government`s effort to provide free textbooks to the students. Salesmen of some book stores were arrested for selling textbooks that were meant for free distribution.

IANS