printing jobs to foreign cos
Printers on hunger strikeStaff Correspondent
Local textbook printing companies on Sunday staged a token hunger strike, demanding cancellation of the international tender for printing primary textbooks for 2013 academic year.
Several hundred press owners from the platform, Bangladesh Mudran Shilpa Samity, joined the token fast lasted about two hours beginning at 11:00am in front of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board at Motijheel in the capital.
Among others, Workers Party of Bangladesh president Rashed Khan Menon and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal secretary-general Sharif Nurul Ambia expressed solidarity with the strikers.
Samity chairman Shahid Serniabat said the international tender unduly favoured the foreign companies that went clearly against the interests of the local printing industry.
He cautioned that commissioning foreign companies to print the textbooks would seriously affect the livelihoods of over two lakh employees of some 7,000 local printing presses, most of which were small and medium enterprises.
NCTB recently floated the international tender for printing an estimated 11.5 crore primary textbooks for the 2013 academic year.
Since 2011 academic year, the NCTB has been printing primary school textbooks through international tenders with the bulk of the contracts going to Indian companies.
In the academic year 2011, three crore textbooks were printed mainly
by three Indian printers while in 2012, around eight crore textbooks were printed, again by Indian companies.
Earlier, the agitating printers organised a human chain on March 6, observed token hunger strikes on March 8 and March 13 to push for the same demands.
The Samity secretary-general AFM Shah Alam and former chairman Tofail Khan also spoke at the programme.
A sit-in was announced to be held on March 21 at the programme.
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