A school in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district has courted trouble after it has refused to obey the notice of Bengal’s Education Ministry to get itself repainted with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s favourite colours. The present colour of the school’s exterior paint is saffron.
Under the notice issued by the Partha Chatterjee led Education Ministry, about 59,000 state-aided primary and 18,000 secondary, higher secondary schools would be painted with Blue and White coats of paint. To further egg the schools to switch to the common colour code, Partha Chatterjee has sanctioned Rs 500 crores to get the repainting done. The schools as a result were asked to get repainted in between 23rd February and 5th March.
Incidentally for some reason CM Mamata considers Blue and White as her favourite colours, with it being revealed when she inaugurated a riverfront painted with these colours in 2014. Since then, in order to possibly please her, other TMC functionaries decided to try and convert the state into these colours.
This includes Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chattopadhyay announcing a one year waiver on property tax if houses are painted using those hues, which has now been taken to the next level by the Education Minister.
Now as reported, the Principal of Krishnachandrapur High School present in South 24 Parganas district’s Mathurapur block has decided to protest against this diktat by writing a letter to the state’s education secretary.
As per the Principal Chandan Kumar Maity, saffron has been a colour of their school since its establishment in 1948 by the Ramakrishna Mission. The school continued to be run by the mission until it was brought under the state government’s ambit by the Left in 1977.
The headmaster though says that the school continues to have close ties with the Ramkrishna Mission and follows its traditional saffron colours. As per him, they won’t accept the imposition of Mamata’s colours, which he claims are in a bad taste and eradicate diversity.
As per a Swarajya report, Partha Chatterjee is now furious with this school, and has told the school education ministry officials that there shouldn’t be any room for dissent over this matter. He further has asked that the school be sent a letter asking that it implement the original order.
The report also hints at a possible arm twisting technique being employed in this matter, with Partha Chatterjee supposedly asking local TMC leaders to get in touch with school’s management committee, to ask them to “persuade” the Principal to fall in line.
If the defiance continues the Partha Chatterjee has allegedly asked that disciplinary action which includes possible removal, be taken against the Principal.
The Swarajya report claims that the Principal on the other hand is hoping that the Ramkrishna Mission which is respected by even Mamata Banerjee, wields its influence to get a positive resolution regarding this matter.
Incidentally, such an issue over a coat of paint was also recently noticed in Uttar Pradesh, where the walls of state Haj office received an overnight coat saffron, which was then subsequently repainted. As a result of this, the Yogi government removed the incumbent Haj Committee secretary, following a notice over how were the walls painted saffron and why were they repainted.