Despite the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issuing the work order two months ago for the supply of stationery items to the children in civic schools, the students are yet to receive them.
The Rs 179-crore proposals to distribute uniforms, notebooks, geometry box, raincoats etc. were embroiled in a controversy after it was unearthed that the civic body was buying the stationery items at rates higher than the maximum retail price (MRP).
It was also alleged that the same cartel of contractors was receiving the tenders for the last five years, violating civic body norms. Hindustan Times on May 11 had reported the purchase scam exposing how the civic administration was spending taxpayers’ money only to fill the pockets of contractors.
Congress corporator Pravin Chheda on Wednesday raised a point of order in the standing committee for the delay in supply of stationery items to the students. Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar informed the committee members that the work order had been issued on June 23.
“The contractor gets 45-60 days’ time after the issuance of work order, during which supply has to begin. The distribution of stationery items is likely to begin from Monday,” she said.
Corporators cutting across party lines raised objections over the administration’s lackadaisical approach towards the issue and demanded to speed up the proceedings. Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Sheikh criticised the administration for showing no sympathy towards poor children, who have been going to civic schools without proper stationery or uniforms.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court alleging corruption in awarding contracts for 27 stationery items. Mhaiskar said that the civic body had filed an affidavit in the court and students will not face any difficulty in getting the stationery items. The proposal to distribute money to school children instead of items has already been rejected in the group leaders’ meeting.