15 lakh bicycles to be distributed before Puja
The distribution of 15 lakh bicycles under Sabuj Sathi project among students studying in class IX in state run, sponsored and aided schools will start before the Pujas. The project was conceptualised by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who also named it and Rs 800 crore was kept for the project in 2015-16 budget. She also sketched the logo of the project. So far the state Backward Classes Welfare department has distributed 25 lakh bicycles among the students of classes X, XI and XII studying in state run, aided and sponsored schools.
The distribution stopped once the dates of Assembly election were announced. The move once again began after the new government was formed on May 27. The BCW has already floated tender and the firms will be selected in July. The department would issue work order in early August.
The spare parts of the bicycles will start arriving from August end. They will be assembled and then distributed among the students from October. The department plans to distribute all the bicycles by December.
The BCW has names of all the 25 lakh students who have received bicycles so far and the names of their fathers, the classes in which they are studying along with the makers of the bicycle and the date of delivery.
West Bengal ranks first in distributing 25 lakh bicycle in a year. Tamil Nadu had distributed 6.5 lakh bicycles in a year to secure the second position. Over 4,000 fitters from different parts in the country came to assemble the parts that had arrived in 3,500 trucks.
The vehicles along with the fitters were sent to the districts. There is absolute transparency in the whole process, from floating of the tender to distribution of bicycles. The project has become immensely popular among the students.
The BCW will carry out a study on the impact of the project. The project has also paid very dividends in the Assembly election. Students of the rural areas and economically challenged background never thought even in their dreams that they would go to school on a bicycle.
Sandip Sinha, headmaster of Jamaibati High School in Hooghly said the project had raised the confidence level of the students. “The students are getting school bags and shoes and these have helped improve their self esteem.”
It may be recalled that in the early years of the last century Sir JC Bose and his wife Lady Abala Bose used to ride bicycles and urged the students of Presidency College to use bicycles as it would help them to build up their confidence.