A meeting was today presided over here by the Chairman of the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission, Mr. Rajesh Bagha to deliberate upon the matter concerning supply of free text books to the SC category students of 1st to 10th standard during academic session 2017-18. In the meeting attended also by the officers from the Punjab School Education Board, Education Department and Welfare Department, Mr. Bagha took serious notice of the SC students still not been supplied with the text books. He said that the summer vacations are over but the students have to face harrowing time academically owing to non-supply of the books which could have a negative bearing on their exam results. He expressed deep concern that this can lead to the SC students of Government schools lagging far behind the other students in comparison to those studying in the private schools. Mr. Bagha further said that the states surrounding Punjab have provided free text books to the students hailing from SC category.During the course of the meeting, the Secretary of the Punjab School Education Board Mr. J.R. Mehrok said that the delay in the printing of the books to be distributed amongst the SC category students can be attributed to the non-availability of eligible tenderers which has lead to the non-supply of requisite quantity of paper for printing of books as per the standards of the Union Government. The representative of the board also brought to the notice of the commission that the board has tendered from May, 2016 till now for the purchase of paper and due to lapsing of D.G.S. and D. rates on 31-1-2017 and even after extending the date of tendering thrice, only 1 applicant has agreed to provide F.O.R. board store paper at the rate of Rs. 59642 per metric tonnes.
The commission while considering under the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission Act-2004 and expressed hope that the Principal Secretary Welfare Department, Secretary Education Department (Schools), Director Welfare Department and Secretary, Punjab School Education Board, Ajitgarh would ensure the supply of the text books to the SC students of 1st to 10th standard during academic session 2017-18 keeping in mind their precious future. The commission directed the Welfare Department to file its final report before the commission in this regard on 25th August, 2017.The board officials also brought to the notice of the commission that the welfare department still owes some amount to the board regarding which the commission instructed the officials of the department to take every possible step to clear the outstanding amount of the board. The commission also desired that the status report concerning action taken in this regard must be submitted to the commission on 20-7-17 till 2 PM by the Education, Welfare and Board officials. On the occasion, Senior Vice Chairman of the commission Mr. Raj Singh and ex-officio member Mrs. Bharti Kennedy, Mr. Babu Singh Panjawa, Mr. Prabh Dayal, Mr. Darshan Singh, Mr. Gian Chand, Joint Director Welfare Department, Punjab, Mrs. Anjana Sandhu, Deputy Director Mr. Parminder Singh Gill, Secretary Punjab School Education Board Mr. J.R. Mehrok and OSD (Scholarship) Education Department (Schools) , Punjab, Mrs. Nalini Sharma were also present.