Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Department is in a fix. The government said it would provide school bags, uniforms, shoes and books to primary school students from July 1. But the department is nowhere close to meeting that target.
Contracts for manufacturing the bags are yet to be given, tenders for procuring shoes are yet to be decided, books and uniforms are yet to be completely distributed. It might take over two months for the department to fulfill its goal.
The department is, however, making arrangements for Saturday’s programme in which Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will distribute the items to 200 students in Lucknow called “School Chalo Abhiyan”.
The suppliers of bags have been asked to submit a set of 200 for the event, while books too will be distributed. Shoes and uniforms, meanwhile, were purchased separately locally.
Praveen Mani Tripathi, Basic Education Officer, Lucknow clarified, “For CM’s event, we have purchased 200 shoes for students but it is in accordance with the specifications. Even the bags have been purchased for these 200 students from the bidders, who have qualified for the bids.”
While The Indian Express had reported earlier that suppliers would take at least two months to meet the expected 1.8-crore demand for bags, the government is yet to finalise on the logo to go on it. For the event, the department has decided to go with the “Education for all” slogan. Shoes, uniforms and books too will be distributed and the chief minister will have a mid-day meal with the children.
“We had very little time left. Printers have started supplying books, which is an achievement in itself and we hope that the entire supply shall be complete by the mid of July,” claimed a senior officer.
The set of books (53 in number for classes I to VIII) are expected to be delivered in schools this month. The tender for these books was started in February but could not be pursued further due to assembly elections. Sources in the department inform that printers were given final go ahead for the printing in the first week of June and they had sought at least 90 days time to deliver the books.
The basic shiksha adhikaris (BSAs) in the districts have already been provided fund to purchase uniform for the children at local level.
Meanwhile, Tripathi confirmed that a special “rath” (chariot) has been prepared, named “Namankan Rath” and would move in different areas for the month-long “school chalo abhiyan” to ensure enrolment. The rath would carry photograph of the Chief Minister and details about the schemes of both the central as well as the state government for primary education.
Saturday’s event will be clubbed with a plantation drive, which would also be launched in Kukrail area of the state capital.