KATHMANDU, Sept 10: Sajha Prakashan has come under the scanner after it did not submit the details of papers given by Janak Education Materials Center (JEMC) for printing school textbooks before the beginning of the current academic session from April 14.
According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), a four-member probe committee, which was formed 19 days ago, has been looking into the issue. The four-member committee includes two members from JEMC and two from Sajha Prakashan. It was mandated to submit the report within a week but it is still working on it.
Sajha Parakshan is reported to not have submitted the details of papers worth for printing 60,000 copies of textbooks. "The committee has been scrutinizing the issue of missing volume or quantity of papers," said Yadav Chandra Niraula, under-secretary at the MoEST. "The exact details of the situation will be revealed after the committee submits its report," he added.
Sajha Prakashan has been operating under the cooperatives manuals (2021BS) and Sajha/Cooperatives law while the work division regulations approved by the cabinet meeting of 2069 BS keep Sajha Prakashan under the MoEST. JEMC is operating under the MoEST.
Meanwhile, a total of 128 staffers, who got a golden handshake and retirement from Sajha Prakashan in different groups and times, have been staging protests since July 17, demanding that they be provided with gratuity and perks, which were not provided even after two years. It needs about Rs 170 million to pay all 128 staffers their gratuity and perks, according to Desar Rai, coordinator of the struggle committee on behalf of the retired staffers.
Once sacked on the accusation of multiple irregularities, Dolindra Prasad Sharma, general manager and erstwhile chairperson of Sajha Prakashan is blamed for not paying the staffers though he promised time and again to pay them. The tenure of Sharma as chairman expired on July 27 while he will continue as GM for three years.
On the charge of multiple irregularities, Sharma was sacked by the Ministry of Education from Sajha Prakashan on September 24, 2017. However, the Supreme Court issued stay order on November 1 asking not to implement the ministry's decision to sack him.
Sharma was accused of appointing those close to political leaders and media persons at Sajha, not carrying out audit after he was appointed at Sajha, not maintaining records of annual incomes and book publications, allowing private publishers to use Sajha logo, transferring Rs 5 million from Sajha's to the GM's account, and GM also serving as chairman against the rules.