CM invites cycle manufacturers to set up factories in Bengal to take advantage of Sabuj Sathi scheme
Hero Cycles has already invested Rs 55 crore to set up a modern plant in Bihta, around 35km from Patna, and employed over 250 persons, majority of whom are from the area. The mother plant has brought two ancillary units with a total investment of about Rs 25 crore and employment opportunities for another 150. Avon Cycles that has a plant in Hajipur Industrial Estate is also planning expansion to cater for the market. Although investments in cycle plants do not run into hundreds or thousands of crores, the benefits are aplenty as they create jobs for low-skilled people. In Siliguri chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that last year, the state had distributed around 40 lakh bicycles among students. "This year, we will distribute bicycles again and in Darjeeling district, we started the distribution today. Around 18,000 cycles would be distributed (in Darjeeling district) and across the state, the figure would range between 12 lakh and 14 lakh," she said. "From now, we will distribute cycles among Class IX students every year so that all those who are promoted to Class IX and onwards can use bicycles for coming to school and for other work." Sources at the Darjeeling district administration said around 11,000 bicycles were ready and would be distributed immediately. The remaining 7,000 would be readied and distributed in due course. Owners of bicycle stores in Siliguri said the chief minister's call to the manufacturers was a right move. "It is one of the growing sectors of the country and in Bengal, none other than the state is the largest buyer because of the Sabuj Sathi scheme. It is obvious that cycle manufacturers might feel interested in the proposal," a shop owner said. "If a cycle manufacturing unit comes up here, there would be immense scope for MSME units to mushroom as those make several parts of a bicycle," he added. Today, Mamata also spoke about a skill development programme for the youths.
" Aamaader jeta skill department theke ... 3000 chhele meye der aamraa skill e training debo. Jara cycle parts gulo toiri kore nijeriai sharate parbe ebong tara bibhinno jaygay kaaj korte parbe. Bochhore 3000 skill training debo jate cycle gulo kharap hole tara repair korte pare r shongsar chalate pare (We have a skill department ... we will give skill training to 3,000 boys and girls. They can make parts of bicycles and repair them and also work in different places. Every year 3000 persons would be trained so that if the cycles malfunction they can repair those and run their families.)," Mamata said. Observers said the statement is another message to cycle manufacturers. "Through this remark, the chief minister has said the state is readying a pool of skilled workforce that can work in cycle manufacturing units as well as ancillary units. This would help prospective investors to have a clear idea about the quality of available workforce required," an observer said. While addressing the gathering of more than 7,000, mostly school students, Mamata said: "We have Kanyashree under which around 35 lakh schoolgirls are covered. There is Shikshashree scheme meant for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students and also scholarship for minorities. The government has also created a corpus of Rs 200 crores to help poor and meritorious students continue higher studies in the field of medical sciences and engineering." The chief minister also announced the formation of Shreshtargya, a cooperative for the welfare of media persons in north Bengal. She handed over a five-cottah plot belonging to the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority in Kawakhali, on the outskirts of Siliguri, to the Siliguri Journalists' Club. Mamata later left for Kalimpong where she will stay for two days. "I will attend programmes to be organised by the Lepchas and Tamangs in Kalimpong," she said. She will leave for Calcutta on September 24. (Telegraph)