State initiates probe after 12,000 bags distributed as part of govt programme in Chhotaudepur
A round 12,000 bags distributed in State government-operated schools left the ruling BJP go vernment red-faced when a smiling Akhilesh Yadav, the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, made an appearance on the bags. In the curious turn of events, the bags which were likely among the lot printed by the Akhilesh-led government before Uttar Pradesh went to polls earlier this year, was distributed in government-run primary schools in the State’s tribal-dominated Chhotaudepur district. The education department has now ordered an inquiry into how these bags landed up in Gujarat.The12,000 off bags were distributed to students under the State government’s `Shala Praveshotsav’ programme, an annual drive to enrol students in class 1. Each bag was priced at approxi mately Rs 124 per bag. The hidden aspect was discovered by parents and teachers at a school in Bhuriya Kuva village when the stickers reading `Jilla Panchayat Shala Praveshotsav’ started peeling off. “There was a smudged patch of black colour under the sticker. I rubbed it and realised there was something printed under the black patch,“ said Pravin Baria, a parent, who washed off the black paint to find the smiling face of the former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav printed on the bag, along with the slogan `khoob padho, khoob badho’.

These had been procured by the district panchayat through an e-tender from a Surat-based company, said District Primary Education Officer (DPEO) Mahesh Prajapati.

Minister of State for Education Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said an inqui ry will be conducted and “action will be taken“ against those responsible for this goof-up. Parliamentary Secretary and BJP MLA from Kawant, Jayanti Rathwa said, “We are in the process of forming a committee to investigate the matter. The company will not be paid until the matter has been resolved.“

The Opposition Congress took this opportunity to take a swipe at the BJP government. “Instead of providing teachers, the government is distributing recycled bags of a former UP government by carrying out this drama of Shala Praveshotsav. It shows how serious the government is towards education,“ Gujarat Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said.

Investigating Officer Deputy DPEO Nagin Rathva added, “We have asked all schools to recall the bags and send them to us. All bags that we checked until Tuesday had Akhilesh Yadav’s face printed on the front. This is an error on part of the bag manufacturing unit and we will take action against them.“