Publishers in a bind as govt delays books purchase

Publishers in a bind as govt delays books purchase

Dues pending for Kannada books bought in 2012; no fresh orders

Publishers in a bind as govt delays books purchase

Kannada publishers in the State have been left high and dry as the State government has failed to make bulk book purchases from them for the past two years.

The publishers are facing a dire financial crisis as the government is yet to clear dues of the previous purchases. Compounding the crisis, the BBMP has not forwarded the library cess to the government. This amount itself runs up to more than Rs 200 crore, according to publishers and officials in the Libraries department.

The government makes book purchases from publishers for all the district central libraries and gram panchayat level libraries. There are 36 district central libraries and 5,766 gram panchayat level libraries. These purchases are made twice in a year, once in June/July and once in January.

However, the last purchase made by the government was in 2012. Even for this purchase, the government is yet to pay the entire amount to the publishers. More than 150 Kannada publishers have been hit by this delay, said Devaru Bhat, secretary, Bangalore Book Sellers and Publishers Association.

As per procedure, a State-level committee is formed for making purchases. The books to be bought from the publishers are presented before this committee and the members approve the books. As and when new books are published, these are presented before the selection committee. The State government is yet to constitute this committee.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Libraries department director Satish Kumar Hosamani said that they had sent a proposal to the government regarding the same and were awaiting response.

In 2012, the committee selected 4,824 books. Until now, dues have been cleared for 1,250 books. These were cleared only in March this year, two years after the purchase. “Payments are yet to be made for books from serial number 1,251 to 4,284,” Hosamani said.

He said that the department would need about Rs 10 crore to Rs 14 crore to clear the dues. According to officials in the department, the proposal to form a new committee was sent to the State government in March this year and a proposal for clearing the dues was sent in September. As on date, there is no response from the government. 

Unable to bear the financial burden, publishers have sent their complaints to Kannada Abhivruddhi Pradhikara (Kannada Development Authority). Pradhikara president L Hanumanthiah told Deccan Herald that following several complaints from publishers, he had recently written a letter to the chief minister, requesting to immediately clear the dues and make new purchases.

“The next purchase has to happen in January. But there is no committee yet. The government has to look into the issue immediately as publishers are having to bear the brunt,” he added.