Building has no proper access even to the entrance
Much is said and written about government schools lacking basic infrastructure, but what escapes the attention of many is the pitiable condition in which other government establishments such as Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation’s (TNTC) regional office here function.
Located on rented premises behind Madurai District Pandiyan Consumer Cooperative Wholesale Society’s godown on Theni Main Road, the TNTC office operates from a dilapidated building that does not even have proper access to the entrance as the concrete steps are cut off from the main building.
Employees as well as visitors enter the building through a temporary wooden bridge. Apart from Regional Officer S.Ayyadurai, who has been given additional charge of heading Madurai apart from his original workplace at Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district, there were two other clerical employees here.
Of the two permanent staff, one is a woman employee. The TNTC is also visited by many women staff from various schools in the district for the purchase of Samacheer Kalvi (uniform syllabus) textbooks.
But ironically, they suffer due to the poor condition of the decrepit toilets that do not have any water.
K.Shanmuganathan, office-bearer of an association of private nursery and primary schools in the district, says schools in the rural pockets have no choice but to purchase books directly from the TNTC office because they are sold at exorbitant rates in retail shops.
“Staff from schools in Peraiyur, Thirumangalam, Sholavandan and other places visit the office on a regular basis. I also come down here to assist them in purchasing the books and hand over the details of the books purchased by them to the District Elementary Education Officer,” he adds.
Those who visit the office are forced to spend a considerable time on the premises as the skeletal staff have to serve many schools, especially during the beginning of the academic year by accepting Demand Drafts, preparing bills and monitoring the movement of books from the godown.
C.Prema, staff of a private school in Thirumangalam, says she had great difficulty even in locating the office as it was situated in an isolated place.
“Proper seating arrangements for the visitors and toilet facilities are not luxuries. They are essentials. They must be provided immediately,” she insists.