1 lakh laptops lie idle as Samajwadi Party eyes poll dividends
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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.