Young IAS officer says no to saffron, orders Pilibhit school buildings to be painted white

Young IAS officer says no to saffron, orders Pilibhit school buildings to be painted white

Picture of the school building painted in saffron 

Picture of the school building painted in saffron

Earlier this year, saffron towels, curtains and covers were sent to the home of a slain soldier just before Yogi Adityanath’s visit. The change of decor was temporary and vanished soon after he left

In a rare gesture, a bureaucrat has stood up against the Yogi Adityanath government’s ‘unofficial’ diktat to paint government buildings in Uttar Pradesh saffron and ordered those school buildings to be re-painted white.

The order came from the District Magistrate of Pilibhit, Sheetal Verma, who asked gram pradhans and panchayat secretaries not to paint school buildings saffron. “The official colour of the government schools is white and it should remain the same till we get official communication,” she told panchayat officials in Pilibhit on Monday.

The order came in the backdrop of senior officials painting the Shastri Bhawan – which houses the CM’s office – in saffron. After this, many official buildings were painted in saffron despite no directives being issued to do so. “This is nothing but an act of sycophancy. Heads of many departments ordered official buildings to be painted saffron because Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s favourite colour is saffron,” said a senior official requesting anonymity for obvious reasons.

In fact, saffron seems to be the colour of the UP government. In meetings or press conferences, a saffron-coloured towel always drapes the chair of the Chief Minister while for everyone else, it is white. Even booklets and posters issued by the government’s public relations department and ministries have some element of saffron on them.

In October, Yogi Adityanath launched a fleet of 50 state-run buses that were painted saffron and cream.

Earlier this year, saffron towels, curtains and covers were sent to the home of a slain soldier just before the Chief Minister’s visit. The change of decor was only temporary and vanished soon after he left.

It is amid this scenario that the DM of Pilibhit stood her ground and ordered that government schools, which have been painted saffron, should be re-painted white. Reports suggest that around 80 out of 1,230 primary schools in Pilibhit were painted saffron.

The issue came to light during the DM’s inspection of a government primary school in Roop Pur Kripa village. She enquired from the headmaster and the panchayat secretary as to who ordered the school to be painted in saffron. “As per government rule, school buildings should be painted white. This new shade is not permissible,” she told reporters in Pilibhit.

Paint job of school buildings is carried out by gram pradhans in consultation with panchayat secretaries.

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