Thousands of text books worth millions of rupees reduced to ashes in mysterious fire which broke out in warehouse established for storage of books in Hazro tehsil in Attock district on early hours of Wednesday. The residents living adjacent to Government Boys High school No. 1 Hazro alerted police and Rescue 1122 after they saw dense smoke blowing from the school around 8 AM on Wednesday. However, the fire engulfed the entire stock of text books of Punjab education department before the rescue team undertook the job. The District Emergency Officer Dr Mohammad Ishfaq Mian told newsmen that the rescue 1122 received emergency call around 8’ O clock and subsequently fire brigade and Rescue 1122 personnel doused the fire, but all the books in the warehouse were reduced to ashes.
Sources in education department said that the provincial education department has dispatched around 0.1 million text books of Punjab Text Book Board from class 1 to 10 th to the education officer Hazro tehsil in Attock. In this connection cluster centre was Government high school No. 1 Hazro city where the books were stored for onward distribution to students studying in more than one hundred primary, middle , high and higher secondary boys and girls schools of the tehsil before the commencement of new academic year.
As the lists for distribution of the text books was being prepared for its distribution to schools as per students’ strength, as many as 25 thousand text books of various classes and various subjects went “missing” under mysterious circumstances. Inside sources claimed that some officials of the education department allegedly sold the said quantity of books in the market and to save their skin from the matter, they set the stock on fire to conceal their crime. Sources further said that as an inquiry by the provincial education authorities was underway to ascertain the facts, some unknown persons by breaking the locks of store rooms of the school where books were stored set on fire these books which reduced 90 percent stock of text books to the ashes. Social and public circles have raised their eye brows that despite presence of CCTV cameras and presence of watchman how some unknown persons broke the locks and set the text books on fire.
When contacted District Education officer Secondary, Raja Amjad Iqbal has confirmed that the 25,000 text books from class-1 to 10 th were missing as per inventory and in this connection an inquiry team from provincial education department is conducting probe to ascertain the facts. Responding another question about gutting of text books on Wednesday morning, he said that the watchman was present on the duty and he has not seen anybody breaking locks and setting books on fire. He said that a team of district administration comprising officials of education department and district monitoring team is probing the fire incident and would fix the responsibility.