Chief Minister Anandi Patel has issued a circular giving instructions against use of flowers as gift to felicitate her in various events and urged the well-wishers to give donations to anganwadis instead of spending on “expensive” bouquets.
Last week, the Health and Medical Services Department of the state government issued the circular to all other departments concerned across the state in this regard.
According to the circular, the officials organising events must ensure felicitations of guests with “nutritious food items” that can be distributed to anganwadi children in the locality after the event.
As per the June 25 circular issued by the commissioner of Health and Medical Services in Gandhinagar, district and city level departments, felicitations of guests in official programmes must include only “baskets of fruits or vegetables and pulses” that can later be used for children studying in local anganwadis. The circular (The Indian Express has a copy) was also received by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation on July 4.
The circular states, “In all state, district and corporation level events being organised from now on, that the felicitation of guests and officers should be done with seasonal fruits, vegetable baskets, nutritious foods like pulses, peanuts, grains, chickpeas, dates, dry fruits and so on. At the end of the event, these food items must be sent to all local aanganwadis for distribution among children. The order has been issued under instructions from the ‘higher’ department and at every official event, big or small, the order ought to be complied with.”
The circular states that departments concerned, who organise official functions, must ensure that the guests and officers are no longer felicitated with “flowers, shawls and books”.
Officials say that the order has been issued in line with Anandi Patel’s wish that organisers should not “waste money” on buying bouquets that are ultimately dumped away. An official said, “On Saturday in Vadodara, Anandiben received several mementos and flowers. She has made it clear that the focus of the state government is on making better the quality of food served in primary schools and anganwadis.
Being from a teaching background herself, she is very passionate about the students in anganwadis and she has made it clear to all officials that she is not delighted at the sight of bouquets. In fact, she has also verbally issued directions to her departments to ensure that the on stage decorations for government events use minimal flowers so as to not waste any money on the same.”
On Saturday, while inaugurating development projects by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, Patel had expressed her disapproval at receiving bouquets that turn out to be “useless and extravagant”. Instead, she had directed the municipal officials and workers of the party’s women wing to distribute the fruit baskets received at the event to the 300 anganwadis in Vadodara.
Accordingly, Jyoti Pandya, former Vadodara mayor and president of the party’s women wing of Vadodara took charge to carry out Patel’s instructions. Pandya told The Indian Express, “We got together yesterday itself and distributed the fruits among the students of anganwadis. I saw to it that it reaches the children as per her instructions.” Patel had received several fruit baskets, out of which, one weighing 50 kgs worth about Rs 10,000 was the biggest.
During Patel’s first public event — the Krishi Mahotsav in May — she was welcomed with a garland of peanuts, unlike usual political events where chief ministers were greeted with floral garlands.