Modi aims jibe at Sibal for delay in Aakash launch

Gandhinagar: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today alleged that the Congress-led UPA government was "dragging its feet" on the distribution of low-cost Aakash tablets and said the Centre has failed to honour its much-hyped commitment.

"I want to tell students that eleven months ago a Minister of Congress-led UPA government, Kapil Sibal, had organised a big event at Vigyaan Bhavan in New Delhi, and launched Aakash tablet in the presence of country's top most media," Modi told a gathering on occasion of Teachers Day.

Narendra Modi took a dig at Kapil Sibal.

"He (Sibal) had stated that the world's cheapest low-cost PC would be made available to students at Rs 3,000. Mind you, it was not for free, you had pay for it," he said, adding even after paying no tablet PC has been delivered since its launch.

"Eleven months have passed by, but no Aakash tablet has come down on Earth... Now I realise why this gizmo is named 'Aakash' (pun intended - sky)," Modi quipped.

The criticism came against the backdrop of opposition Congress yesterday announcing free laptops to students if voted to power in the Assembly elections due by year-end.

"Kash (If only) this Aakash tablet could land on Earth, then the lie (promise of free laptops by state Congress) they (Congress) are spreading now would hold some weight," Modi said in a sarcasm aimed at blunting Congress' aggressive campaigning ahead of the polls.

"They (Congress) have turned away their faces from telling truth to the people. That's why I want to inform you what is the truth," he told a large gathering of students.

The event was held to mark Teachers' Day celebrations broadcast live through Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics (BISAG) across one lakh schools in the state.

Aakash tablet project is envisaged by Ministry of Human Resource and Development. It plans to distribute about a million tablets in colleges in the coming years, at a procurement price of Rs 2,276 per tablet.

Modi also announced that every district would have a green and model school.

He said the government was mulling a change in the system of evaluating state-run schools and it would be modified. 'Gunotsav', the annual feature of state government to assess the performance of schools by state bureaucrats, could be done by academicians in future for more realistic assessment, he added.

PTI