The Assam Publishers and book sellers association (AAPBSA) on Monday said they would go for four- day statewide strike from December 20. This is to protest against the free distribution of textbooks to students of government schools.
Talking to the reporters on Monday, AAPBSA Dibrugarh town committee president Srikanta Bharali said the decision to provide free textbooks to government run-institutions will ring the death knell of the ‘already struggling’ publishing industry of the state. He said that they are not against the free distribution of textbooks but instead of this the government should reimburse the money to the students.
“The publishing industry is already passing through a critical phase. It is a challenging time for local publishers and sellers as they have to compete with e-books and online book merchants. Sale of textbooks, magazines, journals, newspapers, novels and story books have come down drastically. This decision will affect 3 lakh book stall owners, wholesalers and publishers of Assam. As a mark of protest we have decided to go on strike from December 20 to 23. All book shops will remain closed on those days,” Bharali said.
The association submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal through Deputy Commissioner Laya Madduri.
In response to the decision taken by the All Assam Book Publishers and Sellers’ Association , book sellers of Darrang are also going to observe four day long ‘banddh’ from December 20. The state book publishers and sellers body has termed the decision as one sided and detrimental to the book publishing thereby adversely effecting the business.
Meanwhile, talking to this correspondent Pranab Saha , one of the senior office-bearers of the local book sellers’ body and owner of the premier book stall “Jnanjyoti” has stated that they have extended their full support to the decision and shutters of nearly 60 book stalls in the district will remain closed for four days beginning from December 20.