JHENIDAH, Feb 20: Sale of banned note- and guide-books is going on unhindered in all book markets of the district headquarters and six upazila towns due to lax administrative monitoring.
Allegations also run rife that a section of teachers, taking bribes and gifts from those unknown publishers, are forcing the students and their guardians to purchase the books in the name of good result.
Guardians of the primary and secondary level students alleged that school teachers encourage students to buy the illegal books. On the other hand, booksellers said that they sell the substandard books because of their high demand in the market.
The banned note- and guide-books are being sold openly at higher rates in front of KC College, beside the Bepari Para Road book market, Paira Chattar, Hamdoho, Arappur, Paglakanai and Hater Rasta areas of Jhenidah town and all the upazila towns in the district.
Kashem, a guardian who purchased a guidebook at Tk 550 for his son reading at Class VIII, said, "I had to buy the book on repeated request from my son. His school teachers insisted him to buy the books of a certain publisher since the beginning of the year."
Akkas Ali, owner of a bookstall in the town, said some unscrupulous Dhaka-based publishers supply the banned books to the local booksellers for doing brisk business. He alleged that on different excuses, the publishers are fixing prices several times higher than the reasonable prices of the books.
Seeking anonymity, an owner of a book shop in the town, said since the beginning of the New Year, he had been selling the banned note- and guide-books.
Another bookseller said almost all bookshops in the town and the upazilas are selling the banned books. They get 30 to 50 per cent commission from the wholesalers for selling the books.
"The booksellers do not maintain minimum secrecy about the sale in absence of administrative vigilance in the trade," a school teacher Momata Hena said.
District Secondary Education Officer Amzad Hossen said he already asked the Deputy Commissioner for conducting drive against the illegal guide- and note-book sellers.
Secondary education officials however, expressed their disappointment that the selling of the books would not stop until their publishing is stopped.
President of District Book Sellers' Association Shafiqur Rahman said, "Authorities concerned should stop printing and supply of these books before taking action against the sellers."
While visiting some markets, this correspondent found that the banned books are selling at much higher rates at different shops. It was also alleged that Bangladesh Pustak Bikreta Samity (BPBS), Jhenidah unit, has fixed the rate of different types of guide- and note-books and are supplying those in local bookshops, violating government rules.
When contacted, President of Jhenidah BPBS Shafiqur Rahaman denied the allegations.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Jhenidah Mahbub Alam Taluqdar told The Daily Observer that the sale and marketing of note- and guide-books are banned. If anyone is found involved with the sale and marketing of these books, stern actions would be taken against them.
Chairman of Jessore Education Board Professor Abdul Mojid said they were trying to motivate the students not to use the books.
"Students would study textbooks properly instead of guide-books. Then they would realise that the note-books are not helpful in securing good results in the examinations," he said.
Meanwhile, the guardians demanded proper monitoring of Jhenidah book market and punish the dishonest sellers as early as possible.