Sabuj Sathi scheme: Soon, tender for 10L bicycles to be floated
Kolkata: The Backward Classes Welfare (BCW) department will float the tender for 10 lakh bicycles which will be distributed among the students of Class IX of state-run, aided and sponsored schools under the Sabuj Sathi project next week.
The state government has so far spent Rs 2,000 crore to procure 70 lakh bicycles, the highest by any state government in the country.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, during her district visits which concluded on Friday, announced that the state government will continue to give bicycles to the students of Class IX.
The decision to distribute bicycles among students of Classes IX, X, XI and XII were announced by the state Finance minister Amit Mitra in his Budget speech in 2015. The Chief Minister distributed the first batch of bicycles among the students at a function at Gopiballavpur Block II in West Midnapore on October 29, 2015.
In the past 28 months, the BCW department has distributed 60 lakh bicycles.
Six lakh bicycles whose tender was floated earlier will start arriving next week. The BCW department has given training to over 3,000 unemployed SC and ST youths to repair bicycles in a bid to make them self-reliant. The cycles that are being given will be maintained by the state government for one whole year free of cost. The cycles are fitted with reflectors.
The students are given cycles manufactured by three well-known companies. A survey conducted to find out the social impact of the project stated that the Sabuj Sathi project has increased the confidence level of girls, particularly in the rural areas. Also, it has brought down the number of dropouts in Class IX and reduced the number of early marriages of girls.
The BCW has the data of 60 lakh students who have received cycles. The data includes names of the students along with those of their parents or guardians, the class in which they study, name of the school and the date of receiving the cycles. "Sabuj Sathi" means students' companion. "Sabuj", the Bengali word for "green" also implies "children" while "sathi" means "companion".
Mamata Banerjee herself had created the logo which consists of a young boy running, with two spinning bicycle wheels alongside his legs.