Schoolchildren in the flood-affected districts of north Karnataka and Hyderabad Karnataka, who lost their textbooks after their houses were flooded in the recent deluge, can happily attend their classes without worry as the Karnataka Text Book Society has taken steps to distribute textbooks free to children studying in government schools in those districts.

The floods not only claimed hundreds of life and displaced millions of people, but also threatened the future of the children due to damage to school buildings and loss of books.

Thousands of school-going children in Bagalkot, Raichur, Bijapur, Koppal, Gulbarga and Gadag districts were distraught that their textbooks and notebooks had been washed away in the floods. If their parents are worried about rebuilding their damaged houses, the children were disappointed at losing their books, with half the academic year over.

Responding swiftly to their plight the textbook society, which was established by the State Government to ensure smooth distribution of free textbooks in government schools, had issued circulars to the Deputy Directors of Public Instruction (DDPIs) in the flood-hit districts to distribute textbooks stored in the block-level textbook godowns (in each taluk) for sale, free so that the children did not lag behind in the studies.

Society Managing Director N.H. Satyamurthy told The Hindu that the circulars had been sent to the DDPIs on Monday, directing them to distribute the books meant for sale free to the needy children. All 202 block-level textbook godowns in the State will co-ordinate to ensure textbook availability to the children who faced the worst floods.

“The textbooks available for sale in the godowns will be distributed free among the schoolchildren. If there is a shortfall, we shall make immediate arrangements for the books so that the children get new books to continue their studies,” he said.

In three phases

The distribution of textbooks in the flood-affected districts will be done in three phases. In the first phase, the available books in the block-level godowns in the flood-hit districts will be distributed on priority. In the second phase, the surplus books or the books kept for sale in the godowns of other districts (not affected by floods) will be diverted to the flood-affected districts. “In spite of these measures, if more textbooks are required, we shall reprint them as per the need in the third phase,” Mr. Satyamurthy said.

He said the DDPIs of the flood-affected districts had been asked to send details on the requirement of textbooks in spite of distribution from the available stocks. “We have instructed the DDPIs to distribute the books immediately. The distribution will take at least three days. Reprinting of textbooks will be considered in case of shortage despite current measures,” he said, adding that information is also being collected from the nodal officers appointed by the Government.

With the reopening of schools in the districts after the Dasara vacation, the distribution of textbooks is likely to start on Tuesday. While the books are printed by the Government Press in Bangalore and Mysore, the society monitors the distribution round the year.

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