The varsity has not paid for over 5,000 books it procured during its annual book fair this year

Book publishers in the city have alleged that Anna University has not paid them for over 5,000 books that it procured from them during its annual book fair held this August. The books, they say, are lying in the university

Over the last few years, Anna University has conducted a book fair every August for the benefit of engineering students and teachers. This year, the exhibition featured nearly three lakh titles, mainly on science and technology, engineering and allied subjects.

About 50 booksellers and publishing houses set up stalls. There was a 20 per cent discount on every book and the fair was visited by many students and college representatives, said sources.

The dealers said each of them expected to do business worth around Rs. 50,000 by displaying their collection of books on technology and engineering.

Faculty members and experts, had during the fair, selected a wide range of books for their libraries.

“The books were mainly by foreign authors, with each costing over Rs. 8,000. Many have even selected entire volumes. All these books are in the university now, and we have no clue when and how much we will be paid,” said a dealer.

At the time of procuring these books, the officials had promised to pay them soon. “Every year, the payment issues are sorted out in a week. This unusual delay has affected our business badly,” said one of the publishers.

The dealers say besides spending three days at the fair, they had to transport all their books to the venue and back many times.

“After the professors selected the books, we had to transport the rejected books back too. Each one of us spent at least Rs. 5,000 for that. Now, the entire exercise seems useless. We never expected a government institution to do something like this,” said a book dealer.

Some dealers said they have been asked by the university officials to come and retrieve their books as their payment was likely to be delayed. “With the admission season over, there is no way we can issue these books for sale now. Also, many of us had sourced these books from foreign agents and we have to pay them much more because of the delay”

University officials however dismissed the delay as not much of a problem as the books were procured on an ‘approval’ basis only.

“Our faculty members are looking through the selected books and making the final list. A little bit of time is always required for experts to get the best books. The payment issues are being sorted out,” an official said.

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