From inception, 70L cycles distributed so far under Sabuj Sathi scheme
Kolkata: The students of state-run, aided and sponsored schools who will be promoted to Class IX this year will be given bicycles under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's pet project Sabuj Sathi soon.
The Backward Classes Welfare (BCW) department has received the first batch of 1.5 lakh bicycles which will be distributed to students of Class IX by the Chief Minister. Banerjee has announced that all students of Class IX of these schools will get cycles.
The state government has spent Rs 2,000 crore to distribute 70 lakh cycles among students of Classes IX, X, XI and XII of state-run, aided and sponsored schools — the highest ever by any state government in the country. The first batch of cycles was distributed by Mamata Banerjee on October 23, 2015, at a function in Gopiballavpur Block II, under the then West Midnapore district.
The project was announced by the state Finance minister in his Budget speech in February 2015. Over 4,500 trucks from all over the country containing cycle spares came to Bengal and were sent to the districts. The cycles are manufactured by three reputed companies.
A preliminary report on the survey of the project's social impact has stated that it has helped to build confidence of girls in the rural areas and is successful in bringing down number of school dropouts. It has also stopped early marriage of girls.
It may be mentioned that the Opposition parties had severely criticised Mamata Banerjee for the project and alleged that poor quality cycles were being distributed among the students in the campaigns before the 2016 Assembly election. But soon they have been proved wrong and eventually Sabuj Sathi has emerged as one of the most successful projects taken up by the state government.