Bhopal: The school students taking admission in class VI and IX are unlikely to get bicycles promised by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in near future. Though it is mid-October, the education department has yet to float tenders for the purchase of bicycles. By this standard, students may only hope to get them by the end of this academic session.
Last year, the school education department had floated the tenders through Laghu Udyog Nigam (LUN) in August and by October, the distribution of bicycles had begun. With tenders not issued till date, the bicycles are unlikely to reach students before January-February next year.
The education department has been holding meetings since July to decide the modalities for the purchase of the bicycles but nothing seems to have worked out. The chief minister has already expressed his anger over the delay in the process. School education department principal secretary Deepti Gaur Mukherjee admitted that the distribution of bicycles will be delayed. “Yes, nothing has been decided so far. We are holding discussions and a final decision would be taken soon,” she remarked.
However, sources said department is unable to decide whether it should purchase bicycles through LUN or Government e-Market (GeM). As per centre’s directives, the chief minister has instructed government departments to stop making purchases through LUN and opt for GeM. The departmental officials are unable to understand how to go about it, sources said. The government also does not know whether GeM will provide any guarantee on the bicycles purchased through it.
Moreover, if the department opts for GeM, it will have to follow certain conditions under which bicycles can be sourced only from well-established manufacturers. The bicycles available on GeM are quite expensive. The government has sanctioned a sum of Rs 2,500 per bicycle. But that is hardly adequate for purchasing the bikes through GeM.
Last year, the government had purchased bicycles from well-known companies and as a result there were no complaints regarding the quality of the bikes. Mukherjee said that even if the department will go for GeM, it will have to adopt the reverse tendering process. It is a specialised auction that allows the buyer organisation to procure goods from the sellers by featuring decreasing incremental bidding.