Another 15 lakh students will be given the cycles after the Assembly election is over and the beneficiaries have been given the sanction letter. The number is highest in the country. Tamil Nadu had distributed 6.5 bicycles in one year.
The opposition had called the project a “major flop” and said that it was impossible for the State government to distribute so many bicycles. They also said that quality of the bicycles were poor and were developing snags soon after they were given.
But the efficiency of the Backward Classes Welfare and Tribal Development has proved them wrong.
The department has in its possession the list of the beneficiaries, the makers of the bicycles and the date when it was handed over to them.
The blue and white cycles carries a unique identification number which is very similar to the chassis number of vehicles. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has named the project as Sabuj Sathi and also prepared its logo.
The cycles have brought joy to the students in the backward areas of Bankura where 1.07 lakh cycles have been distributed, Purulia where 89,000 cycles have been distributed and West Midnapore including Junglemahal where 1.89 lakh cycles have ben distributed.
The cycles have been given to the students of classes X, XI and XII and only the girl students of class IX in 2015-16 financial year. State Finance Minister Amit Mitra in his budget speech in 2015 had announced that the State government would give 40 lakh bicycles to the students of classes IX, X, XI and XII.
The tender was floated and three firms, Hero, Hercules and Avon were selected. The real distribution
in November-December last year was made by the Chief Minister. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 800 crore.Over 3000 trucks containing the spare parts of the bicycles came from Tamil Nadu, Nasik and other places.
The vehicles were directed to the districts where 4,500 fitters assembled the cycles. The cycles were checked before they were given to the students. The CPI(M) tried to spread canard over the quality of the bicycles saying that they are of local quality.
Whispering campaigns were made to the students but braving all odds, the State government went ahead with the scheme and completed it within the stipulated time.