The disputed proposal to purchase two Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines for the civic body’s Shatabdi hospitals at Kandivli and Govandi at a cost of Rs 16 crore was passed by the civic standing committee on Wednesday amidst protests from corporators of opposition parties.
The controversy has brought to the fore the loophole in BMC’s procurement policy, which civic authorities are now hoping to revise.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had invited corporators’ ire for placing a tender with inflated prices to buy MRI machines after standing committee member Rais Sheikh had independently approached the contractor, Philips Electronics Ltd, and received a quote of Rs 8 crore less than that quoted to the BMC.
The BMC defended the MRI purchase proposal saying the tender includes several components such as MRI compatible equipment (ventilators, injectors etc), turn key installation and taxes as applicable on these factors. The controversy also took a turn when BMC’s director for major civic hospitals Dr Sanjay Oak offered to quit.
However, maintaining that the contract remained questionable, Sheikh said, “The explanation by the civic administration is unconvincing. They have presented the statement furnished by Philips in front of the standing committee.”
Additional municipal commissioner, Rajiv Jalota, agreed that the civic body’s procurement policy needed an overhaul.
“The policy is old and requires changes. We will ask for a draft of the Public Procurement Bill, 2012 which has been approved by the Union Cabinet and will consult the BMC’s finance department to bring in improvisations in the current policy,” he said.