SandhyaKumari reached the school late with an injured knee due to a bent in the wheel rim of her bicycle on 20th May.Two days later,SangitaShukla had to drag her bicycle from LapungChowk to a repair shop because the chain had backed out.
SudhirVerma,alawyer,said in an interview,“It’s quite shocking to think about that this humble cycle carries the risk of life.”He further added that the cycle distributed to the students were substandard and of poor quality.
It was 2002 when the scheme was introduced in the state. Six years before, Bihar came up with the same aiming to provide mobility to girl students of Class VI and above. Plus, it was also done to check dropout rates among them.
Unlike Bihar,where every beneficiary was given money in 2008 to buy it,in Jharkhand, it was bought by the State Govt. and distributed to students free of cost stating that if cash was given to the beneficiaries,the parents may buy alcohol instead of bicycles.
The centralized purchasing of cycles was made through floating of bids and tender awards to the company who bade the lowest.The welfare,human resources and tribal welfare of the State Govt. had sanctioned Rs. 68.42 crore to purchase bicycles in the last fiscal year.In the 1st phase,1.80 lakh bicycles,each at a cost of Rs. 2489,were supplied across the state.
The Jharkhand Rajya Cycle BikretaSangh, Secretary said that paying graft only gets you the contract,thus, compromise has to be made vis-à-vis quality.
After many complaints lodged in Ramgarh,the Deputy Commissioner,Am
itabh Kaushal ordered an enquiry where it was found that in his district a total of 5529 cycles were supplied where 7563 tyres were of ‘two ply’ when the department’s specification mentioned ‘seven ply’.The difference in cost of each tyre’s seven and two ply was `50.
Though,similar complaints were made in Pakur,Sahebgunj and Palamau the State Govt. has not taken any move to fix the problem.