BENGALURU: It’s been two months since classes for the current academic year started, but students who are beneficiaries of free bicycles are yet to receive them. The status of the bicycle distribution process confirmed that students will get their bicycles only after Dasara vacations. As per the information available from the department of public instructions, the file regarding tender allocation is pending before the Chief Minister for approval.
According to officials from the department, the delay is basically due to the model code of conduct which was in place for Assembly and Council elections in the state. A senior official of the department said, “ When the tender was floated earlier, due to the Model Code of Conduct, the bids were not open. Later, when the new government was formed, the tender was under negotiation. Now, the file is before the CM for approval.”
This year, the department finalised four companies. The total cost estimated to distribute free bicycles is `185 crore, to students studying in class 8 of state government and aided schools across the state, excluding those at urban areas and staying in government hostels.As per the data available from the department, for the 2018-19 academic year, the total number of cycles needed is 5,14, 585, of which 2,52,893 are for girls and 2,61,692 for boys.
The department official hopes that the cycles will reach schools by October. “There are four bidders for whom the tender is allotted to. Once the file is approved by the CM, the work order will be given and they will manufacture cycles and deliver them directly to schools,” mentioned the official.
The cost per cycle has been increased this year. During 2017-18 academic year, the price was `3,300 for a boy’s bicycle and `3,500 for girl’s. This time, the same has been increased; for boys it is `3,600 and for girls, it is `3,900. Officials said that the companies have asked for a 5% hike citing the fuel and transportation charges have increased and also the prices of steel and raw material increased. “Apart from this, 12% GST will be put on these cycles,” official added.