Representational pictures
Representational pictures

BHOPAL: The cash-stricken state government has decided not to distribute cycles to its roughly 3 lakh students studying in schools across the state. Government will save Rs 300 crore, which will help it to balance its budget in the time of corona.

Officials of the school education department confirmed that students this year would not get bicycles as schools remained closed for the session owing to the corona-induced lockdown. Officials also suggested that the ‘distribution of cycles’ scheme would gradually be shut down.

The school education department spends about Rs 300 crore every year on distribution of cycles to about 3 lakh students of Classes 6 to 9. Now, the officials have prepared a proposal to close the scheme in a phased manner.

Merger of schools

According to sources, the new proposal envisages providing buses for students along with merger of schools. The ambitious scheme of the department, ‘CM Rise Schools’, is in its final phase in which more than 9,000 schools will be developed as model schools and small schools in its vicinity will be merged with them.

Special school buses will be arranged for the students to take them to school and drop them back home. The department is on its last leg of finalizing this scheme.

Officials at the block and school cluster levels have been asked to identify students for whom the ‘CM Rise School’ is far away and buses cannot reach. Such students will be given a free bicycle to travel till the bus stop.

“But this is for sure that, even in the next session, the number of beneficiaries of the cycle scheme will be brought down drastically,” added the official.

‘Alternative arrangements’

"Cycle distribution among students will lose its importance as the school education department is thinking of providing alternative transport arrangements for the students," said a senior official requesting anonymity.

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Free Press Journal