Text Book Press cries for help

Text Book Press cries for help

The facility set up by the Centre in 1977 is experiencing slow death

Text Book Press cries for help

The Government of India, Text Book Press in the city, which is one of its kind in the State, is dying a slow death.

The facility which used to employ close to 170 persons, now has only 40 people. To make matters worse, posts which have remained vacant for over a year is being abolished by the Centre.

These factors have raised apprehensions that the Press will be shut down soon. However, officials of the Press have dismissed the rumours stating that they were being created by the disgruntled former employees of the Press.

Sudarshan, officer-in-charge of the Press said that the facility had state-of-the-art machinery, which were imported from Germany. “There are four machines present at the Press, each with a production capacity of 25-30 thousand impressions per day,” he said. The four machines combined could produce 1.2 lakh impressions and were once used to print text books published by NCERT.

However, former employees of the Press, who did not wish to be quoted, said that the machines have rarely been used, once text book printing was stopped at the Press in 2002. With no qualified persons to handle the printing machine and little maintenance during the past decade, it won’t be a surprise if the machines do not work now, they said.

After text book printing was stopped, Sudarshan said that only forms related to Postal department and other official forms are being printed at the facility. The facility, popularly known as German Printing Press, was allotted 100 acres prior to its construction, which was gradually bifurcated to different Central government departments. Currently, the Press is located in an area of 63 acres.

Vacancies abolished
Around 160 posts were sanctioned to man the Press, when the facility was opened in 1977. However, many quit work to benefit from the special Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), introduced by government in 2002, Sudarshan said.

The Centre also decided to abolish the posts of employees who had retired under special VRS after a year. As a result, more than a hundred posts were abolished during the past decade, he said. He said that despite the shortage of staff, the facility was ready to take up any large assignments if required. “If any additional employees are required for the same, they will be outsourced”, he added.

Former employees also lamented the gross neglect of resources available at the Press. “Even though the decisions of the Central government has hit the facility, there are still opportunities to revive the facility. Instead of rendering the machinery useless, the facility could be used for the benefit of general public,” they said.