1 lakh laptops await distribution in run-up to Lok Sabha polls.
Six weeks after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav launched his much-hyped scheme of free laptops to students who passed class XII board exam last year,over one lakh laptops are lying idle with the government,awaiting distribution.
One of the most significant pre-poll promises of the ruling Samajwadi Party,the laptop scheme was launched on March 12 by the Chief Minister when he distributed about 10,000 laptops to students in Lucknow. Since then,the government is yet to decide the dates of laptop distribution in other districts.
While officials say that dates for distributing the laptops will be soon decided,sources said that the SP leadership wants to delay it so as to make the distribution close to the Lok Sabha election as possible. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has publicly said that he expected the next Lok Sabha elections to be held in November this year. It is a very important scheme of the Samajwadi Party government and obviously the leaders want that the scheme to remain fresh in the minds of the voters at the time of the Lok Sabha elections, said an official.
Hewlett Packard (HP),which won the contract for the supply of laptops,was asked to deliver 75,000 laptops by April 15 and another 75,000 by May 15. Sources said the company had so far received a demand for 1.36 lakh laptops from the districts and have been able to deliver 1.2 lakh laptops to the districts. The remaining will be delivered within a week. The company has also completed the training of the teachers and set up service centres in some of the districts.
Almost one lakh laptops have already been delivered and have been sent to districts. Post-delivery inspection of these laptops has also been completed, said a senior official of Uttar Pradesh Electronics Corporation. The official said any decision regarding the dates of distribution of these laptops can only be taken when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav,who is in America currently,returns to the state next week. District-level committees have been set up for looking after the distribution of laptops which will be done preferably by a minister or an MLA or MP,said the official.
The delay in decision on starting the distribution of laptops is raising logistic concerns for storing them in districts. Lakhimpur Kheri got the first lot of laptops in the second week of April. We are waiting for detailed instruction from the government,because there are space constraints, said Manisha Trighatia,Lakhimpur Kheri district magistrate.
HP sources said the laptops are being shipped in from factories out of India. Though a stock of almost 2.5 lakh laptops is being maintained by the company in Lucknow,it would need to supply a total of 3.75 lakh laptops between May 16 and June 15. For such a huge quantity of the laptops to be shipped in on time,the government would essentially need to give a go-ahead to the company by May 15.
Govt awarded Rs 2,858 crore contract for supply of 15 lakh laptops to HP in January.
According to delivery schedule,HP had to supply 5 per cent of the ordered quantity within 60 days from the date of signing of the agreement,while another
5 per cent had to be supplied in the next 30 days.
Next two lots of 25 per cent each had to be supplied within the next two months and the remaining 40 per cent in two instalments in the next two months.