Government to act against erring schools for ‘unfair trade practice’

‘Issue will be looked into, action will follow’
Government to act against erring schools for ‘unfair trade practice’
With the commencement of the new academic session, the private schools have kept the textbooks for school children available at specific bookshops. [Image for representational purpose only]File/ GK

Srinagar: The “unfair trade practice” of private schools in nexus with the booksellers has gone unchecked in the Valley while the authorities have failed to control illegal profiteering by these institutions.

With the commencement of the new academic session, the private schools have kept the textbooks for school children available at specific bookshops.

Such practices continue despite the instructions issued by the School Education Department to the private schools directing them to refrain from keeping textbooks and uniforms of students available at specific shops.

The schools were warned of de-recognition for not implementing the orders.

The instructions were issued after complaints were pouring in against these schools for resorting to “illegal profiteering” while selling textbooks and uniforms within the school premises or keeping these available at specific shops.

“These circulars are not being implemented on the ground as private schools continue their unfair trade practice of keeping these books available at specific bookshops,” said a parent from Srinagar.

Another parent, whose child studies in class 6th complained that his school had kept the textbooks available at a specific bookshop in violation of the government orders.

“The book shop which provides textbooks of all the classes is located adjacent to the school. The irony is that the books are sold at exorbitant rates and the bookseller denies providing a proper receipt,” another parent said.

He said a textbook set of class 6th was sold to him worth Rs 5018 and the shopkeeper did not mention the name of the buyer on the bill.

“I insisted the bookseller write my name on the bill but he wrote the name of the class and the school in which my child studies. This is illegal and unfair,” the parent said.

“When the books are kept available at a specific shop, the parent has no option to bargain the price,” he said.

The parent said that one of the schools had kept textbooks available at a bookshop “Apple Valley Books.”

However, the proprietor of “Apple Valley Books” refuted the allegations saying that the receipts were given in the name of the customers.

“If the parent wants the bill to be printed by his name we have no issues. Why should we deny bills printed in the name of the customers,” he said.

Greater Kashmir carried a series of stories to highlight the nexus between the private schools and the booksellers under which textbooks of private publishers are sold to parents at exorbitant rates.

Earlier, the Director of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) instructed the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to constitute special monitoring teams headed by a Deputy CEO or senior-most Zonal Education Officer to verify the complaints received on account of the sale of books and uniforms by the schools.

“These circulars and instructions remain confined to only papers. No committees are working on the ground to check this illegal practice by schools and booksellers. This sluggishness by the government has left the parents at the receiving end,” a group of parents said.

The aggrieved parents have been left in a quandary as the School Education Department has failed to control this restrictive and unfair trade practice.

Meanwhile, an official at the Legal Metrology Department (LMD) said their role was confined to checking the MRP of textbooks.

Principal Secretary School Education Department, Bishwajit Kumar Singh told Greater Kashmir that strict action would be taken against such erring schools that indulge in unfair trade practices.

“The issue will be looked into and action will follow,” he said.

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