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Local printers to observe work abstention on March 27

Staff Correspondent

Local textbook printing companies might go for abstaining from work for half day on March 27 demanding cancellation of international tender for printing primary textbooks for 2013 academic year, said officials of Bangladesh Mudron Shilpa Samity.
For over a month now, the local printers have been agitating for cancellation of international tender for printing primary textbooks, but the National Curriculum and Textbooks Board and the education ministry did not respond to them.
NCTB recently floated an international tender for printing primary textbooks for the 2013 academic year.
According to the tender, an estimated 11.5 crore primary textbooks would be printed through international tender.
Printers said that two lakh employees of some 7,000 printing presses, most of them small and medium enterprises, would be affected by the government’s decision to print textbooks through international tenders.
Since 2011 academic year, the NCTB has been printing textbooks for the primary level through international tenders with the bulk of the contracts won by Indian printers.
In the academic year 2011, three crore textbooks were printed mainly by three Indian printers and in 2012, about eight crore textbooks were printed by Indian companies.
‘We have decided to go for a half-day work abstention programme on March 27 to force the government to cancel international tender,’ said an official of Mudron Shilpa Samity who wanted not to be named.
He said that the decision would be finalised at a representatives’ meeting on March 25.
NCTB chairman Mostafa Kamaluddin told New Age that it was a government decision to call international tender and NCTB informed the education ministry about the objection from the local printers.
‘The government will decide whether it would cancel the international tender or not,’ he said.
The local printers have been protesting against the government decision saying that it would harm the local printing industry.

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