Lucknow: After doling out unemployment allowances, laptops, saris and blankets, the Akhilesh Yadav government is now preparing to distribute cycles. The cycle, incidentally, is the election symbol of the ruling Samajwadi Party.
According to sources, the distribution of cycles to over three lakh laborers is likely to begin after Diwali and will be completed before the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections is enforced.
The scheme is estimated to cost the state government a sum of Rs 30 crores. The labour department of the state government is ready with the blueprint for cycle distribution.
The identification and registration of daily wage laborers will be done at the district level and the cycle distribution will be done on the basis of this registration.
A senior official in the labor department said that the government had already finalized the supply of cycles from four companies, namely, Hercules, Hind, Atlas and Hero, and each cycle would cost between Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000.
The Akhilesh Yadav government, incidentally, is leading when it comes to doling out sops to the voters. The party has already distributed laptops to students and is preparing to start distribution of two saris each to women in the BPL category and blankets to the elderly in this category.
By distributing cycles, the state government hopes to win over the unorganised labour sector. The distribution of freebies, however, has come under sharp attack from the opposition parties.
“This government has been indulging in wasteful expenditure with an eye on bribing voters on the eve of Lok Sabha elections. With the money spent on unemployment allowances and laptops, the government could have generated employment opportunities that would have given permanent benefits to the youth. How long can one survive on unemployment allowance and how much money can one earn from a laptop?” said BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak.
The BSP has already stated that there are anomalies galore in distribution and laptops and unemployment allowances and people from one cast groups were the main beneficiaries.
The cycle distribution scheme is also likely to face criticism since it relates to the party’s election symbol.