NMC to start bicycle bank for girls

In a rare gesture, the Nagpur municipal corporation is planning to start 'bicycle bank' for VIII standard girl students of its schools.

Published January 8, 2008 by Times of India 
By Proshun Chakraborty

NAGPUR: In a rare gesture, the Nagpur municipal corporation is planning to start 'bicycle bank' for VIII standard girl students of its schools.

In phase-I, the scheme will be targeted for girl students staying in the outskirts which may be at a distance of at least five kilometres from satellite villages, said Atul Patne, additional municipal commissioner NMC.

The two-wheelers will be provided under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan from the government fund. To begin with, the civic body is procuring 109 bicycles.

According to Patne, the purpose of the girls' bicycle bank is to allow girls to overcome the "distance barrier" to education. He said in families below poverty line (BPL), it was often noticed that the girls stopped going to school after VI or VII.

In some case, they were married off at a young age, which is why they dropped out of school.

"Once they discontinue their studies and get married, many of them gradually forget to read and write. They are as good as illiterates," education department in-charge of NMC and deputy additional commissioner S Raut stated.

"Besides, we also found that many girls who dropped out, had forgotten even basic thing as alphabets as they were out of touch with schoolbooks. But if we ensure that the girl child studies upto at least Class VIII, maybe she will remember basics like language, science and mathematics," he added.

The bicycle is not just a means of transport to school, in fact a weapon in her fight for education, claimed Patne. "We have seen that in some cases it was the cycle which made it easier for the girl child to continue her education. And, they don’t mind pedalling even five Km to and fro school," he added.

Though the strength of girls in class VIII is about 800, there will be only 109 bicycles initially and this number will gradually increase in coming months. In near future, girls studying in Class VII would be covered under the bicycle bank scheme.

proshun.chakraborty@timesgroup.com