Patna HC stays `botched-up` offer of BSTBPC to print 661 lakh textbooks

  • | Friday | 22nd September, 2023

PATNA: The Patna high court on Thursday stayed the "arbitrary and open offer" made by Bihar State Text Book Publishing Corporation (BSTBPC) for printing of 661 lakh textbooks for government schoolchildren in the state. The offer was made by the corporations managing director on September 4.A division bench comprising Justice P B Bajanthri and Justice Arun Kumar Jha passed the order while hearing two writ petitions filed by Patna Offset Press and Capital Offset Press. The court also sought a reply on the matter from the corporation and the states education department.Petitioners counsel Anjali Kumari informed the court that an e-tender was floated for printing and supply of textbooks under "Samagra Siksha Abhiyan" of the state government."The textbooks were to be supplied to students of classes I to VIII in the 2024-25 academic session. Out of 58 bidders, the firms of petitioners and some others were declared successful as they were the lowest bidders. When the successful printers were awaiting contract letters, the MD of the corporation suddenly made an open offer on September 4 to all the unsuccessful bidders and stakeholders to accept the contract at new revised rates," Anjali told the court.Anjali argued that the corporations Uturn was a blatant violation of its own stipulations of tender notice and also the procedural norms envisaged under Bihar Financial Rules. The court found prima facie substance in the arguments of the petitioners and ordered that the impugned offer letter should not be given any effect till further orders. The matter will now be heard on September 27. In consequence to the high courts order, manager, personnel & administration of BSTBPC, wrote to the State Council of Educational Research and Training, the nodal agency for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, requesting it to put printing and publishing of textbooks on hold. The corporation has also requested all the printing press units, to whom it had allotted the works, to wait till the courts next order.

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