Bathinda, April 6
Detectives from the Excise Department raided two bookstores in Maheshwari settlement and one near Bibi Wala Chowk area and checked the stocks and premises of these booksellers.
Bathinda Deputy Commissioner Showkat Ahmad Parray said: “Strict action will be taken against companies and shops involved in the forced sale of stationery items to parents of students. We have received complaints from a few parents about being coerced into buying stationery by some bookstores and businesses in town. They don’t even give invoices for the items sold.
Earlier, parents of students studying in private schools staged a protest outside a city bookstore alleging booksellers’ monopoly. They alleged that there was a link between private schools, booksellers and publishers. The parents regretted that the books that the school management asked them to buy were only available in one store. They said the store sold books at exorbitant prices, which the administration did not monitor.
Harpreet Singh, one of the parents protesting outside a bookstore on Dhobiana Road, said: “Books prescribed by a renowned school are available at a bookstore in town. The store charges an exorbitant amount for the books. Parents are even forced to buy notebooks and stationery with books.
“In the absence of concrete action by the authorities concerned, this illegal link has flourished for many years. While the cost of printing a book is Rs50 to Rs80, the same is sold at Rs200 to Rs250. The price of some books is even higher. Many complaints have been lodged with the administration on different occasions, but to no avail,” he added.
Another parent, Gagandeep Singh, “I have no choice but to buy expensive books every year from a bookstore. not be reused by another child. This monopoly is facilitated by a deep-rooted link between the management of private schools, publishers and booksellers. Contrary to the announcement made by the new Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the situation on the ground barely changed.
A school coordinator said, “We never say anything to publishers or booksellers on our side because it’s their business. The school administration has no role to play in this matter.
The Excise Department raided the premises of a few bookstores and businesses today. After examination of the documents seized from bookstores and businesses, the pending tax will be recovered from them. —Showkat Ahmad Parray, Bathinda DC