KATHMANDU, Jan 13
The dispute between Janak Education Material Centre (JEMC) and Sajha Publication has taken a toll on the distribution of textbooks to Karnali zone, where the new academic session begins mid-February.
While the textbook monitoring committee led by Director General of the Department of Education (DoE) Lav Dev Awasthi directed the JEMC to ensure that the textbooks for Karnali zone be picked by January 9, over 1.7 million books are stuck in Nepalgunj-based JEMC store till date.
Sajha Publication, the distributing agency, has a due of Rs 140 millions to be paid to JEMC, the centre claimed.
The dispute over payments has soured relations between the two agencies that have been working together for over four decades now.
If the Sajha Publication does not carry the book for Karnali this week, the students are more likely to attend the new session empty-handed. The government estimates that 15,000 sets of new textbooks would be required for students of Karnali in the new session.
“Having readied 3.5 million textbooks for mid-west till now we are open to welcome new distributing agency or form our own independent mechanism in the face of continued lack of cooperation from Sajha,” said Managing Director of the JEMC Anil Kumar Jha.
Delivering textbooks to Karnali is not easy as heavy snowfall throws life out of gear in winter, said Suprabhat Bhandari, chairperson of the Guardians´ Association who is also the member of the DoE´s monitoring committee.
In the wake of the conflict, the government has formed a three-member committee in coordination of the PMO Law Secretary Raju Man Singh Malla to recommend the solution to the government. “The tricky contractual conditions between Sajha and JEMC means it will take a month to prepare the report,” stated Secretary Malla.
Though the centre has been holding meetings for the last three days to decide on the delivery system, the discussion has remained inconclusive. The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.