Sabuj Sathi: State govt completes distribution of 57 lakh bicycles
Kolkata: The Bengal government has completed distribution of 57 lakh bicycles under Sabuj Sathi project, the highest by any state government in India.
The estimated cost of distributing bicycles among the students of classes IX, X,XI and XII of state-run, aided and sponsored schools under the project is Rs 1800 crore. With this, the first phase of the project stands completed.
The state government took up the project in June 2015 and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee distributed the first batch of cycles to the students at Gopiballavpur block I then in West Midnapore district and now in Jhargram district in October 2015. She named the project as Sabuj Sathi. Backward Classes Welfare department (BCW) was assigned to do the job. Tenders were floated and four cycle manufacturers were selected.
The management of distributing the cycles among the students was unique. Cycle spares from the manufacturers came to Bengal in 4500 trucks. They were then directed to the districts. Fitters came from different parts of the country to assemble the cycles. BCW has lists containing names of all the beneficiaries along with the names of their parents, names of the schools they are studying in, their classes, the maker of the of cycles and the date of delivery. Every cycle bears a unique identification number and a logo of Sabuj Sathi which has been sketched by Mamata Banerjee. The cycles are fitted with reflectors and their maintenance for one year is free.
The BCW department is carrying out a social impact survey of the project. Though the full report is yet to come out, the preliminary report suggests that it has drastically reduced the number of early marriages among girl students and school drop outs.
The BCW has provided training to unemployed SC and ST people and supplied them with necessary tools so that they will be able to open a shop and maintain the cycles that have been given under Sabuj Sathi. This will help them to become economically self-reliant.
It may be recalled that the Left Front and Congress had accused Banerjee of providing inferior quality of cycles to the students before 2016 Assembly elections. But Mamata Banerjee had ignored the allegations of the Opposition and time has proved that Sabuj Sathi is one of the most successful projects of the state government.