Opposition Congress Tuesday objected to Gujarat government’s move to distribute saffron-coloured bicycles to girl students of backward class, saying the colour embarrasses them as it gives away their financial status and caste. However, the government defended its decision claiming that the colour ensures safety of girls on roads at night as saffron reflects light of other vehicles. The controversial issue came up for discussion in the Assembly Tuesday.
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Taking part in a discussion on a starred question during Question Hour, Congress MLA Ashwin Kotwal raised his objection claiming that girls feel shy to use these bicycles as the colour creates discrimination. He said saffron is causing embarrassment to girls as everyone is aware that saffron bicycles are given free to those who are poor or backward.
In his reply, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Dilip Thakore said black is not an auspicious colour but saffron is. Social Justice Department Minister Ramanlal Vora quickly added that saffron colour is better than black when it comes to safety of girls who use bicycles during night as well. Seeking to corner the government, senior Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohil sought to know whether government is considering passing an order to paint all vehicles sold in Gujarat in saffron for safety purpose. “If government feels that saffron colour provides more safety and reduces accidents, then saffron should be used in all vehicles. Does the government wish to do that for the larger good of public,” Gohil said. Vora evaded a direct reply to the query.