The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started drafting a comprehensive procurement policy, to homogenise tendering process for all its departments. This move is an attempt by the BMC to save face after numerous financial irregularities in the public procurement of goods. Although no time frame has been set for the drafting and implementation of this policy, officials said that periodic circulars on certain aspects would be executed as and when they are finalised.
At present, different departments of the civic body follow different procedures for preparing and receiving tenders. “We have formed a committee of retired officials to look into how the current procurement framework can be strengthened by adding more stringent norms,” said Rajiv Jalota, additional municipal commissioner. Emphasising that the revised policy would plug loopholes in the current procedure, Jalota added: “The attempt is to curb the practice of contractors forming cartels and controlling the bidding and assigning of excess work by altering the original contract, among others”.
“Though the bill is yet to be passed in the Parliament, certain concepts from the bill will be incorporated in the policy to make the current system more transparent,” said an official from the civic chief accountant’s office. A model tender document will be formulated to create a base for tenders from all sectors.
Corporators have welcomed the civic body’s move. “The present tendering process is very disorderly and much is left to the discretion of officials. In the absence of a definite policy, qualifications, terms and conditions of tenders are easily changeable to suit vested interests,” said Rais Sheikh,Samajwadi Party group leader and civic standing committee member.