The primary education department in Chhota Udepur on Wednesday decided to withdraw around 12,000 school bags having stickers of the Gujarat government to mask photograph of former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav. The bags were distributed in the district during Shala Praveshotsav, the annual school enrolment drive. The decision was taken during a meeting of the district officers. They have asked the contractor to replace these bags with new bags as per the specification of the state government.
District Primary Education Officer Mahesh Prajapati told The Indian Express, “We held a meeting today and decided that we will recall the bags. All students will be asked to deposit the bags in their respective primary schools from where we will collect those and return to the contractor.We will complete this process in two days. After this, the contractor, as per the tender has to supply us new bags meeting the specifications provided to him in the state government tender.”
Around 12000 bags were distributed in official ceremonies of the annual Shala Praveshotsav in various parts of the district earlier this month. These bags were procured through a Surat-based company, Chhotala Safety Products Pvt. Ltd., after conducting the formal procedure of e-tenders. The total cost of the tender was Rs 17.28 lakh, with each bag costing Rs 144.
On Tuesday, students of several primary schools discovered that their bags — bottle green and black, with red piping running over it — carried not just the photo of the former Uttar Pradesh CM, but also carry the tag lines “khoob padho, khoob badho (study more, progress more)” and “ummedo ka pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (a state of hope, Uttar Pradesh)”. Some bags had been painted black to cover Akhilesh’s picture, before putting on the Gujarat government sticker.