THE BHOPAL Municipal Corporation (BMC) purchased filter media – a device used for water purification work – worth Rs 11.26 lakh in violation of purchase rules. Though norms stipulate floating of tenders and inviting offers before any such purchase, urgency to change the filter media was given as the reason for giving a go-by to rules.
The filter media was purchased for all filtration plants on the Upper Lake. The corporation authorities hurriedly purchased the filter media – a three-layer device built with sand and pebbles for purification of water — sometime in July and August this year.
When asked, Mayor Sunil Sood said he would look into matter as he was not aware of it. The new filters have yet to be installed in one of the filtration plants.
The fixed size pebbles are used in the lowest layer of the filter media. The middle layer is covered with coarse sand and upper layer with fine sand. In some cases, sand and pebbles could be re-used after washing. In some other cases, levels of these layers are filled through top-up.
For the purchase of filter media without tenders or offers, the BMC officers said increased turbidity (collection of silt or other type of filth) in the City reservoirs due to rain spoilt the filter media. But there is no direct link between the filter media and turbidity caused by rain or some other reasons, said a PHE engineer. In the filtration process, most of turbidity gets removed in the settlement tank, which is used before the filter media.
There was no emergency as far as the purchase of filter media was concerned, the engineer added. According to the purchase rules laid down by the Government, every purchase over Rs 25,000 should be made through the offers or tenders. There is specific process of floating tenders for high-cost purchases. Though the process for purchase through short tender notice takes only 7 days, the authorities went ahead with the purchase without caring for the norms.
While changing the filter media at seven filtration plants on the Upper Lake was shown as emergency, the filter media material purchased for the Kolar Filtration Plant in 2005-06 has not been used so far. The process to purchase the filter media for the Kolar Filtration Plant began in 2004-05. Since it was not an emergency work, it took three financial years to change the filter media of biggest water filtration plant of the City.
The BMC officials made purchase of filter media for all filtration plants through one company - J K Jain & Company. The purchases are made for Idgah Filtration Plant (Rs 273750), Badal Mahal Filtration Plant (Rs 1,01,250), 4.5 MGD Shyamla Hills Filtration Plant (Rs 77,762 and Rs 2,39,220), 2 MGD Shyamla Hills Filtration Plant (Rs 1,01,250), Pul Pukhta Filtration Plant (Rs 15,000) and 5 MGD plant at Vidhan Sabha (Rs 3,21,091).
When asked, a senior official of BMC Water Works Department, who doesn’t wanted to be named, told the Hindustan Times that the BMC could make purchases without inviting tenders in emergency situation. Maintaining quality of water is more important, he added.