In the face of education minister Sikandar Singh Maluka's denial to having ordered the purchase of science lab kits in schools, a supplier has asked the state for payment of Rs 58.53 lakh for the consignment.
The kits are still lying on the premises of four schools, one each at SAS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Rupnagar and Gurdaspur.
The supplier has refused all verbal requests by the education department to lift back the stock amidst the three parallel inquiries going on in these purchases, that also included those of the library books and science practical notebooks.
The minister had formed the panel that had ordered the purchase of science lab kits worth Rs 7.5 crore to five firms for supplying these to 754 schools. HT is in possession of the documents that reveal the material receipt and inspection reports about the delivery of the said kits in these four schools.
The supplier, HKS Scientific Works of Ambala, had supplied 29 chemistry, physics and biology material kits to the Fatehgarh Sahib district education officer (DEO) on May 22, 2013, and 30 such kits to the DEO, Gurdaspur, on May 8, 2013.
The aforesaid firm was one of the five firms, all from Ambala, which were given the 'tender' without specifying the scheme and funds under which the procurement of the kits was to be made.
The firm has sent a notice to the director (elementary education), DEO, SAS Nagar, and the finance and development officer of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).
Pritpal Kaur, Vinod Kumar and Gurtej Singh had been holding the posts of the director (elementary education); DEO, SAS Nagar; and the finance and development officer, PSEB; and the three were suspended on May 27, 2013, after the reports on the three-fold scam.
An amount of Rs 7.5 crore was to be shelled out from the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) funds for science kits to be supplied to 754 schools, while the purchase orders for the library books and the science practical and mapping notebooks were given to two different 'suppliers' in an arbitrary manner.
"The entire supply of the kits had since been made to the satisfaction of the authorities concerned within the stipulated period of three months. But till date, 25% payment which was to be made immediately as per the terms and conditions of the purchase order and the balance payment by way of two instalments have not been released in favour of my firm by the authorities concerned," stated the legal notice.
The copies of the notice have been sent to the chief secretary and to the principal secretary school education.