In the wake of severe criticism from different quarters, a much-hyped scheme of the Raje government to supply 67 lakh saffron coloured bags to children in 40,000 schools in Rajasthan has been put to hold.
The state government has decided that the students will be supplied the bags after the assembly polls, to be held in November this year.
The Hindustan Times (see pic) had reported irregularities in the issuance and acceptance of tenders to purchase the saffron coloured school bags, which had political overtones.
Principal Secretary (Education, Schools) Sudhir Bhargava clarified that government had no option but to postpone the purchase of the school bags as it might have taken at least two months.
“The assembly polls are around the corner and the model code of conduct may come into force soon, which will make it impossible to complete the technical formalities of purchase and supply of the bags in the schools,” said Bhargava.
But Congress leaders are not amused at the explanation being given by the state government. All India Congress Committee general secretary Ashok Gehlot, who had raised the issue of the supply of the bags in the schools, said the BJP government was trying to misuse the funds by supplying these bags free of cost for electoral gains.
Pradesh Congress Committee chief and former education minister Dr C.P. Joshi said that tenders were issued without adopting a proper procedure under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
He said, “The BJP wanted to pollute the minds of the students by providing saffron coloured bags, which is against the ethics of our education system.”
“Irregularities were committed in issuing the tenders which had forced the government to postpone the implementation of this scheme,” Joshi said.
But state government officials emphasised that proper procedure would be adopted while issuing fresh tenders to purchase these school bags.