The Backward Classes Welfare department has taken up a unique move to engage local youth of SC and ST communities and make them economically self reliant by giving them training and later engaging them to maintain the bicycles given to the students of Classes X, XI and XII of state run, sponsored and aided schools under the Sabuj Sathi project.
The state government has so far distributed 25 lakh bicycles under the project and the remaining 15 lakh will be distributed among the students of Class IX. Already one lakh bicycles have reached different district and they are being assembled.
Their distribution will begin after getting a nod from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee not only named the project Sabuj Sathi but she also designed the logo. The estimated cost to procure 15 lakh bicycles will be around Rs 496 crore.
Around 3,000 local youth will be given 15 days intense training in fitting, repair and maintenance of bicycles. Already 25 lakh bicycles have been distributed and these youth will be engaged in their maintenance.
Later more youth will be given training. This will not only help them earn their livelihood but the cycles given to the students free of cost will be properly maintained. The bicycles will have some important safety features. They will have 10 special reflectors which help the drivers to spot the cycles at night keeping in mind the Safe Drive Save Live slogan of the state government and to comply with the advisory issued by the Supreme Court for safety of the riders.
The quality of all the bicycles will be tested at the manufacturing facility of the suppliers by Research and Development Centre for bicycle and sewing machine, a joint initiative of the Punjab government and UNDP.
All the bicycles will contain the quality compliance mark. A specific slot for free minor repair, maintenance of the bicycles will be given after distribution. It may be mentioned that the Opposition had criticised the state government for distributing poor quality bicycles to the students and they often developed snags after delivery.
It was found that some parts of the bicycles needed tightening or minor repairing. To do away with this, every cycle will now carry the quality compliance tag and some minor repairs will be done after delivery.
Sabuj Sathi has given confidence among the students in rural Bengal as they now go to their schools on bicycles.
Dresses are also been given to them for free, along with school bags and they look confident and smarter which has always been the dream of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.