Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will start the distribution of 43,000 bicycles under Sabuj Sathi to the students of Class IX of state-run, aided and sponsored schools at a function in West Midnapore on Thursday.
The project named by the Chief Minister has become a grand success in the state. Before the election, the Opposition leaders had said the quality of the cycles were poor which forced many students to sell them.
However, the Opposition leaders were soon proved wrong and the project became very popular among the students.
The function will be held at Jambuni, the heart of Maoist activities till 2011.
Vast areas of West Midnapore were Maoist controlled areas till 2011 and most of the schools were closed as they were used as barracks of the central forces. The Maoists had also used some students as couriers. After coming to power in 2011, Mamata Banerjee visited the area and the development projects brought changes.
The Lalgarh Bridge and setting up of super-specialty along with inauguration of colleges have brought changes to the attitude of people.
The state government decided to give 40 lakh bicycles among the students of Classes IX, X, XI and XII in 2015 16 at an estimated cost of Rs 800 crore.
The step was the first of its kind in the country. The project immediately brought success. The students from economically challenged families and living in the backward areas never dreamt of going to the school on a cycle given by the state government free of cost.
Each bicycle costs around Rs 3,270. The Backward Classes Welfare Department (BCW) has a list of all the beneficiaries along with names of their parents and guardians, the date when the cycle was given to them and the classes they are studying in. This is a classic example of e-governance.
The cycles carry a logo of Sabuj Sathi designed by Mamata Banerjee. The logo has been embossed on the mud guard.
The BCW has given training to 3,000 youth from SC and ST category to repair the cycles so that they become financially independent.
All the cycles that will be distributed has been checked. The students have been asked to bring them after a month for check up.
The cycles carry 10 reflectors. It may be recalled that the Chief Minister had requested owners of cycle manufacturing companies to open a unit in Bengal to meet the requirements.