The Rs 11 crore German-made automatic binding machine can help Gorakhpur’s Gita Press publish better quality books.

The world’s largest publisher of Hindu religious books, Gita Press in Gorakhpur, is all set to add yet another feather to its cap. Having acquired a German-made machine worth Rs 11 crore, the about a century-old press would now publish books with better print quality and also improved binding that would increase their shelf live.

The press, which holds the pride of place for publishing over 65 crore books from Mahabharata, Ramayana, Ram Charitmanas and Shrimad Bhagwad Gita to books on numerous fasts and rituals observed in Hindu homes since its inception in 1923 in more than 14 languages, will soon acquire other sophisticated printing machines to improve printing quality.

“Use of machines will save time, reduce production cost and, most significantly, improve the quality of books,” said KKM Tripathi, manager personnel at Gita Press.

Prior to getting this new binding machine, the work was done manually. Now, the machine can bind 10,000 books at a time.

No shut down

The management dismissed rumours by mischief mongers who claimed the press would shut down due to financial crisis. “It has come to our knowledge that some people with vested interests have spread such rumours to collect money in the name of saving Gita Press. We have cautioned people not to give any money as we do not accept any donations,” said Lal Mani, trustee.

A few days back a TV channel had reportedly aired reports that Gita Press was on the verge of closure as it could not even pay salary to its workers. “We have over 200 workers who are paid regularly in compliance with the Wages Act. The press is working smoothly without any trouble. As such no question of its closure arises,” added Mani.

He said the aim of Gita Press was to provide religious books to people at lowest possible prices — at par with production cost. The losses thus incurred were covered from revenue generated by selling clothes and Ayurvedic medicines at Gita Vastra Vibhag, clothes department of the press and Gita Ayurveda and Kalyan, the monthly publication at Govind Bhawan in Kolkata of which Gita Press is a part.

Two years ago, the press was locked for some days when employees went on a strike demanding hike in salary and other issues.

Back then, there were reports that Gita Press will be closed and shifted to another place. Later, a compromise was reached between the management and employees following which the press opened.

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