Labour Department seizes Samacheer Kalvi textbooks sold at inflated rates

Labour Department officials raided retail bookshops at Pudhu Mandapam here on Saturday following a news article published in The Hindu onTuesdayabout illegal sale of Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation’s Samacheer Kalvi (uniform school syllabus) textbooks at exorbitant rates.

A 14-member team headed by Assistant Commissioner of Labour (ACL) P.Subramanian raided the shops and seized scores of books, bound with low-quality cardboards and sold at inflated prices. The shop owners were asked to collect the books after paying a fine of Rs.2,500 each.

“If they do not pay the fine, we will hand over the books to the court and the shop owners will have to face judicial proceedings. We conducted the raid only after confirming the illegal practice following the news report in The Hindu,” the ACL told journalists. The officials seized many textbooks at the very first shop — Sree Abinaya Book Centre — inspected by them.

When asked about it, shop owner R.Kannappan said he was selling books at high prices which included binding charges.

Mr.Subramanian told him that the books must be sold only at prices printed on them by the publisher. Retailers had no right to alter the nature of the books and inflate prices, he warned.

When asked if he was aware of the news article published in The Hindu, the shop owner answered in the affirmative.

“So, even after that you have not stopped selling the books at inflated rates. Don’t you know that it is wrong?” the ACL asked him.

The team also found that a few shops were selling notebooks which did not contain details of the manufacturers, their addresses and the price.

Further, the team found books on general subjects like Quantitative Aptitude, meant for bank examinations, being sold with price mentioned only on stickers.

Mandatory stickers

“You cannot print the price on stickers. It is mandatory that the prices should be printed on the books themselves. Such regulation has been in place to prevent malpractice,” the ACL told the shop owners.

Later talking to reporters, Mr.Subramanian said one of his officers had visited Pudhu Mandapam on Friday without disclosing his identity and purchased even Samacheer Kalvi textbooks meant for free distribution in government and government-aided private schools.

“It is mentioned right on the first page that the books are meant for free distribution. But somehow those books have landed in the hands of retailers. Unfortunately, we could not lay our hands on such books during today’s raid,” he added.