Updated on: Wednesday, December 29, 2021, 09:09 AM IST

FPJ-Ed: Balbharati to dump over 400 tonnes of old syllabus books, says Varsha Gaikwad

Representative Image
 | PTI

Representative Image | PTI


A war of words has erupted with the decision of Balbharati to dump old syllabus books weighing over 400 tonne. While the state curriculum board has called it an annual practice, legislators and activists have called it sheer waste of paper and funds in a world that is every day getting more environmentally conscious.

The announcement was made bystateeducationministerVarsha Gaikwad in response to a question raised by legislator Arun Lad in the state Legislative Council on December 27 over the dumping of old books by the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, popularly known as Balbharati. “It is true that Balbharati invited tenders on August 17 this year to scrap old syllabus books weighing 426 tonne.

The board has received five tenders for the sathe minister said,adding that in the last three years new syllabus books have been printed and, therefore, books of the old syllabus need to be scrapped. An official from Balbharti said this is not a new practice and that every three years excess old syllabus books are sent to scrap. The official said, “We cannot print books cut to cut. However, of the total 70,000 metric tonne of paper used in the last three years, only 426 tonne (which is around 0.5 or 0.6 per cent) is going to scrap.

These books will be sent to scrap for pulping purposes following which it will be recycled.” Arun Lad, the MLC who had raised the question in the state legislative council on Monday, told The Free Press Journal that first getting these excess books printed and then scrapping them for pulping is not free of cost.

Lad said they could have instead been given away to needy people before the syllabus changed. Saying that this practice is not acceptable, he said, “So many children cannot afford books. Instead of sending them to scrap, these books could have been donated; 426 tonne of old syllabus books is a huge amount for the excess stock.” Activists and educationists have also questioned the practice.

Principal investigator and convener of the RTE Maharashtra Forum, Hemangi Joshi asked, “Why was there no estimate of the number to be printed every year?” She said that over the years, the number of books going to scrap needs to be reduced as this is not environmentally sensible.

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Published on: Tuesday, December 28, 2021, 01:00 PM IST