Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Acknowledging the delay in distribution of free Textbooks to class-10 SC/ST students in the State, Odisha School and Mass Education Minister, Samir Dash on Sunday assured to take strict action after a probe in connection with the incident.

After the matter came to limelight following a report by OTV, Dash said, “There must have been some dislocation. The Board has been informed about the delay in distribution of books so that an inquiry can be launched. Whatever action required will be taken.”

While the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) started dispatching question booklets to the exam centres, OTV on Saturday exposed how teachers of various schools were distributed free textbooks meant for class 10 SC/ST students just 3 days before the commencement of the annual HSC exam.

Citing concerns that the delay in issuance of textbooks has hampered their preparations, Anil Marandi, a Class 10 student of Rairangpur said, "We have not received books and we don’t know how we will sit for the examinations."

Another student from Bhanjanagar, Deepak Nayak said, “Throughout the year we were dependent on our seniors to get books and now at the end of the year they are distributing books which is very unfortunate."

Similarly, Harshita Soren, a Class 10 student from Udala said, “They gave half of the books in the beginning and rest of them we got recently. It is difficult for us to complete the course.”

Meanwhile, educationists have expressed resentment over the lapse in issuance of textbooks for students.

“If exemplary punishment is given to those responsible for such lapses, it will not get repeated in the upcoming years,” said Satyakam Mishra, an educationist.

SC and ST Development Minister Jagannath Sarka has also assured that the government will take appropriate action based on the findings from the investigation.

“Delay in handing over the books to students is unwarranted. An inquiry should be launched in the case and action should be taken against those who are responsible for the negligence,” said Sarka.