Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday launched yet another populist scheme to benefit all BPL Class X students. Bicycles will be provided free of cost to nearly 5.20 lakh students in the State-run schools.
Addressing a function here on Gandhi Jayanti, Naveen said education is a powerful medium for ushering in social and economic changes among the poor. The aim of the cycle scheme, to cost the exchequer ` 135 crore, is to create interest in studies among the students in backward areas.
Naveen handed over cheques for ` 2,600 each to some students at the function. He also flagged off a procession of girl students with new bicycles funded by the State Government. Naveen said his government’s free bicycles for girls of all categories and boys of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe have yielded a satisfactory result.
All girl students of Class X, including BPL families, were earlier included in the bicycle scheme. The number of girls outside schools has dropped from two lakh in 2006-07 to just about 35,000 in 2010-11, he said and added that in the coming days the State Government’s aim to bring all girls to school will succeed.
Stating that the State Government has taken several steps for spreading education among the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and backward class students, Naveen said during the last nine years more than 9,000 schools have been opened.
Minister of State for School and Mass Education Rabinarayan Nanda, Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Kumar Patsani, three MLAs from Bhubaneswar Ashok Panda, Bijoy Mohanty and Bhagirathi Badjena and Department Secretary Usha Padhee addressed the function highlighting the steps taken by State Government in the field of education.