Sabuj Sathi: By November, state govt to complete distribution of 60 lakh bicycles
Kolkata: The state government will complete distribution of bicycles among 60 lakh students of state-run, sponsored and aided schools under Sabuj Sathi project by November.
With this, Bengal would become India's only state that has distributed 60 lakh bicycles in two years. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had inaugurated distribution of bicycles at Gopiballavpur Block I now in Jhargram district on September 29, 2015.
Bicycles are given to the students studying in Classes IX, X, XI and XI in state-run, sponsored and aided schools.
Mamata Banerjee initiated the scheme which she later named Sabuj Sathi. Amit Mitra, state Finance minister announced the project in his Budget speech in 2015. The Opposition had criticised Banerjee for this project alleging that poor quality of cycles are being given to the students. But in the past two years, this has become one of the most successful ventures of the state government.
The Backward Classes Welfare department (BCW) was entrusted with the job to procure and distribute the cycles. BCW has a list of 60 lakh students who have got the cycles along with the classes they are studying in, names of the schools, names of their parents or guardians and the date when they had received the cycles.
The BCW has given training to 3,000 unemployed youth belonging to SC and ST categories to maintain the cycles. The state government will maintain the cycles for one year free of cost. The youth have been given the tools which has helped them to become economically independent. A survey to assess the social impact of the project is underway. The preliminary report says that it has reduced the number of school dropouts. Like Kanyashree, Sabuj Sathi is likely to get international recognition soon.
Three well-known cycle companies have supplied the cycles. The parts of the cycles had arrived in the state from different parts of the country in 4,500 trucks. They were sent to the districts, assembled and then distributed among the students.