Kerala govt dilly-dallying on 'Vidyakiranam' project continues; poor students yet to get laptops

Student laptop scheme stalls, only 200 distributed so far, over a lakh in queue

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government continues to play hide and seek in implementing "Vidyakiranam '' project which was launched with an aim to grant digital study tools to the poor school students in the state.

There is still confusion over who will invite bids for the project for which the government earlier vowed to implement by taking donations from the public.

In the same way, the decision to revise the Jyothirgamaya project, which envisaged granting of digital study tools to the children of fishermen, has not reached anywhere.

The general complaint is that with the reopening of schools and with heavy dip in the public donation, the government is now delaying the implementation of the Vidyakiranam project.

The IT Mission was first in-charge of inviting tenders for the project. The first tender issued to buy laptops and tablets was cancelled since the amount quoted was too high.

Later, a decision was taken not to buy tablets from the countries bordering India as there were many legal hurdles in pursuing such purchases. So, it was finally decided to buy laptops only.

Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) under the Education Department invited tenders for executing the project for the specific amount it got as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds from various companies.

Coconics Private Limited won the tender from among the five companies which participated in the bidding. As per the deal, 500 laptops will be purchased from the company with Rs.17,800 fixed as price for one piece.

But there is still confusion on whether the KITE or the IT Mission is competent to invite tenders for the project.

The laptop is to be given to 4.71 lakh students in the State. But the project is in doldrums as not even five percent of the expected public donation of Rs.700 crore has come to the government's kitty. Now the plan is to lend laptops to students from school libraries on a rotation basis instead of giving a single laptop to students.

As many as 45,313 laptops bought under the failed Vidyashree project were diverted to the Vidyakiranam project and then disbursed.

Meanwhile, not a single laptop was distributed under the Jyothirgamaya scheme which envisaged distribution of digital tool kits to 1,000 Class 10 students belonging to the fishermen community.

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