Kathmandu, July 22:

The Janak Sikshya Samagri (JSS), the state-owned printing house, has chosen the highest bidder for supplying supplying 1,500 metric tonnes of printing paper. The papers will be used in printing textbooks of Class I to X. If the decision is not reviewed, the price of text books will soar by 20 per cent. There is every possibility that the students will be made to pay extra bucks for the JSS management’s fault.

There is a difference of over Rs 14,000 per metric tonne between the lowest and the highest bidder. The GAPPI had quoted Rs 54,250 per metric tonne while both Bhrikuti Pulp and Paper Nepal Ltd and Everest Paper Mills Pvt Ltd had quoted an equal amount of Rs 68,950 per metric tonne.

Bhrikuti Pulp and Paper Nepal Ltd and Everest Paper Mills Pvt Ltd were jointly awarded the tender, though the JSS had informed Gulkhu Aaju Packaging and Paper Industries (GAPPI) that it was the lowest bidder and qualified for the job even on technical ground.

An official at the JSS said on condition of anonymity that the students would have to pay the extra bucks. “The price will increase by at least 20 per cent and the students will have to shoulder the burden.”

Demanding an investigation into the matter, the GAPPI has filed a complaint against the JSS at the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).

Admitting that there had been some mistakes in the tender bid process, Sarad Chandra Upadhyaya, acting general manager at the JSS, said the students will not have to suffer as the prices of text books will not be increased. “An investigation into the matter is under way,” said Upadhyaya. The former management of the JSS had made the decision.

However, an official said: “As the JSS is in no condition to bear the losses, the students will have to pay the price”.

Translated versions of textbooks in English printed in black and white used to cost 30 paisa per paper. But, recently, the JSS has printed some pages of the books in colour, increasing the price of the book to 64 paisa per page. “Instead of providing relief to poor students, the JSS is burdening them financially,” said the JSS official.