The backward class welfare and tribal development department will float e tender next week to select firms to supply 15 lakh bicycles which will be distributed among the students of class IX of state run, aided and sponsored schools.
The state Finance department has given the clearance and tender will be floated next week, Sanjay Thade, principal secretary of the department said on Friday. West Bengal topped the list in distribution of cycles among students followed by Tamil Nadu which distributed 6.5 lakh cycles in one year.
After holding the first administrative meeting, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked the department to take the initiative to ensure that the students receive the cycles on time.
The project named as Sabuj Sathi whose logo was sketched by the Chief Minister has become immensely popular among the students throughout the state and is one of the key development projects taken up by the state government.
West Bengal SC and ST Development and Finance Corporation is the implementing agency.
Last time three big bicycle manufacturers, Hero, Avon and Hercules had supplied the cycles.
The success story of Sabuj Sathi is more thrilling than any reel life story. There are 8,235 state run, sponsored and aided schools in the state. Twenty five lakh cycles have been distributed among the students of classes X, XI and XII.
As the election code of conduct came into force, the department had informed the students of class IX that they would get their cycles in due course of time.
The BCW has a list of all the 25 lakh beneficiaries including their names, the classes in which they study, names of their father or guardian and the make of the cycles they were given. Every cycle has a unique identification number.
Three thousand vehicles containing the spares of the cycles came to the state and were sent to the districts where 4500 fitters from all over the country gathered to assemble the cycles. The BCW started distributing the cycles from November last year and by March 2016, 25 lakh cycles were distributed.
State Finance minister Amit Mitra in his budget speech in 2015 had announced that 40 lakh cycles would be distributed among the students of classes IX, X, XI and XII. In 2016- 16, 25 lakh cycles will be distributed while the remaining 15 lakh cycles will be distributed in 2016-17.
The Opposition had criticised the project and had even questioned the quality of the cycles.
But brushing aside the allegations, state government went ahead with the project completing its target.