The state government will distribute 12.50 lakh bicycles among students studying in class IX in state-run, aided, sponsored schools and madrassas under the Sabuj Sathi scheme. The cycles have started arriving and will be distributed among the students who are studying in class IX in 2023.
The ongoing covid restrictions and the abnormal hike in petrol and diesel prices have affected common people who are now left with the option to use cycles to reach their workplaces.
The ever increasing demand for normal cycle and battery-run ones have brought a great boom in the cycle industry. With the gradual relaxation in the covid restrictions attendance in government and non-government offices, organisations and different commercial establishments have been raised
from 30 to 50 per cent.
As attendance is gradually made mandatory, people working in the private sector fear losing their jobs for irregular attendance. Due to the temporary suspension of local train services and lack of private buses, the most affected are people from the suburban towns in the Hooghly district because a large section of people are employed in private sectors such as mills, factories and other commercial establishments.
Some of the affected people said: “Means of transportation are not available to reach our working places at Bally, Howrah and even Kolkata. Already many people have been rendered jobless during the ongoing pandemic, it is beyond our means to buy petrol for more than Rs 200 daily to reach our working places on a motorbike.
Hence keeping in mind the proverb ‘ self-help is the best help’ we repaired our old cycles and many of us bought new cycles to pedal up and down — a total of 50 km per day. However, our pre-existing ailments prevent us from cycling vigorously, so we got our cycle fitted with a battery. At present even though a few buses are plying we prefer to reach our destinations in our battery-run cycles to travel in overpacked buses, totos and autos.
Soumit Sarkar, the third generation in cycle dealership and sale in Serampore at Shankar Cycle Stores said: “The demand for normal cycle within the range of Rs 5,000.and above is on the increase.”