TAXILA: Thousands of textbooks, worth millions of rupees, were reduced to ashes on Wednesday when fire broke out in a store where they were kept for distribution in Hazro schools.
When residents living adjacent to Government High School No 1 woke up in the morning they saw a dense smoke coming out of the school.
They informed the police and Rescue 1122, but before they could reach, the fire had engulfed the entire stock of textbooks of Punjab Education Department.
The district emergency officer, Dr Mohammad Ishfaq Mian, told newsmen that the fire tenders took hardly half an hour to extinguish the fire but all the books in the store were reduced to ashes.
Sources in education department said that the provincial education department has dispatched around 100,000 textbooks of Punjab Textbook Board for class 1 to 10th to the deputy district education officer Hazro tehsil in Attock.
The books were kept in the school for onward distribution to students studying in around 75 primary, secondary, high and higher secondary schools of the tehsil on the commencement of new academic year.
A few days ago, when education department officials were preparing lists the textbooks for distribution, they found 25,000 textbooks of various classes and subjects missing. Sources further said the provincial education authorities were carrying out an inquiry into the missing books.
When contacted, District Education Officer (Secondary), Raja Amjad Iqbal confirmed that 25,000 textbooks were missing as per inventory and in this connection an inquiry team from provincial education department was conducting investigation.
Responding to a question regarding the fire incident, he said the watchman was present on the duty and he did not see anybody breaking locks and setting books on fire.
He said a team of district administration comprising officials of education department and district monitoring team was probing the fire incident.
Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2020