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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Govt's expensive gifts for students gathering dust

Gulam Jeelani, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, May 09, 2013
First Published: 10:49 IST(9/5/2013) | Last Updated: 10:51 IST(9/5/2013)

For nearly two months now, hundreds of laptops to be distributed free under the Samajwadi Party's scheme, are gathering dust on the Collectorate premises.

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These Hewlett Packard (HP) gadgets were supposed to be given to those Class 12 passouts of the state capital who could not collect them during the mega function held in March this year.

The much-hyped pre-poll promise of the ruling party -- the free laptop scheme was launched by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on March 11 in Lucknow at the Colvin Taluqdars' College lawns.

Of the nearly 10,000 beneficiaries from Lucknow listed for distribution on the day, around 800 students did not turn up.

Since then, the administration is yet to send these machines to the bona fide beneficiaries.

Significantly, after the function, the officials said the laptops would be sent to the respective colleges so that they reach the students. Two months down the line, more than 800 beneficiaries have their fingers crossed.

Worse still, the expensive gifts are dumped in a highly unorganised manner inside a newly constructed but desolate room on the top floor of the building. Visible to everyone who passes through the locked room, the machines are an open invitation to thieves.

While officials say most of the remaining laptops have been distributed among the students, the colleges confirmed that they had not received any gadgets after the March 11 function.

"We have not got any laptop for the students who could not attend the function. When asked, the administration said they would do it soon," said principal of a reputed college.

Additional district magistrate (executive) Devendra Kumar Pandey, nodal officer of the laptop distribution in Lucknow, said: "Nearly 800 students did not turn up for the event. We have distributed most of them. Only a few five-six are left."

In sharp contrast to the official's claim, the HP laptops spread all along the nearly 20-feet-long and 15-feet-wide hall on the top floor were certainly more in number.

Coming from varied backgrounds, the beneficiaries of the scheme, during the first phase of distribution on March 11, were students from 15 colleges of the city.

The scheme, which will eventually benefit 15 lakh students, is billed as the first of its kind 'onetime single-largest purchase' of laptops in the world. The distribution in other districts is yet to begin.

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