Schoolgirls riding bicycles on rural roads of tribal-dominated Nabarangpur has become a common sight.
The free bicycle scheme of the State Government, which was earlier confined to ST/SC girls, now covers all Class X students including boys belonging to BPL families. Low on women literacy, the step heralded a positive change in the district.
However, the gaps in the scheme are allegedly being exploited by the beneficiaries and other parties involved. The Government is providing ` 2,600 for purchasing a bicycle and it is being given in cheque.
Sources said some parents are allegedly submitting false bills against the money withdrawn making a mockery of the scheme.
Implementation of the scheme is fraught with other problems, including opening of a bank account. Despite a directive to banks to open a zero balance account, it’s alleged that beneficiaries are forced to keep a minimum balance.
If this was not enough, the parents have also complained about being forced to shell out ` 100 to school authorities for opening an account.
Usha Padhee, Secretary, School and Mass Education, said the beneficiaries need not pay a single pie to anybody for the bicycle. Padhee, who was earlier Collector of the district, added that the bank had to pay the full cheque amount.
She asserted that steps would be taken to ensure proper implementation of the scheme.