AU dept throws norms to winds

SET RULES and guidelines of Allahabad University (AU) for procurement of items are being violated with impunity by the varsity's Zoology department. The department is making bulk purchases from the funds received by it under the lab grant after awarding tenders to firms already declared defaulters by the varsity administration in the past for providing fake details about themselves and owned by a father-son duo in gross violation of the purchase rules.
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Published on Feb 24, 2006 12:54 AM IST
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None | By, Allahabad

SET RULES and guidelines of Allahabad University (AU) for procurement of items are being violated with impunity by the varsity's Zoology department. The department is making bulk purchases from the funds received by it under the lab grant after awarding tenders to firms already declared defaulters by the varsity administration in the past for providing fake details about themselves and owned by a father-son duo in gross violation of the purchase rules.

For the financial year 2004-05, the Zoology department was sanctioned Rs 3.45 lakh under the lab grant for purchasing animals, chemicals, stains and other items needed for conducting experiments. The department invited and awarded the tenders violating many of the set rules of the varsity.
Sources say the department has been making bulk of its purchases for the last many years primarily from two firms: One owned by a person and the other owned by his son. Though the set purchase rules of the university make it clear that two firms competing for an order should not be related to each other, the department is making the purchases mostly from them.
Sources claim that to bag the contracts, the quotations are submitted by the father-son duo in a manner that one firm always bags the order for the ‘animals’, like rats and dogfish, while the other gets the order for chemicals.
Varsity sources say that the Zoology department in the past had purchased a lab equipment from one of these firms that was objected to during the annual audit as the equipment’s original value was found to be just Rs 20,000 while it had been supplied to AU at a whopping cost of Rs 80,000. Besides, when the then finance officer Jamaluddin Khan had set up an inquiry on complaints by other firms and tried to verify the address of the firm, it was found to be fake. This had led to the firm being declared a defaulter and all varsity departments being informed about it.
Moreover, as per the set rules, orders of Rs 50,000 and above can be placed only after their being properly advertised in the newspapers. However, the department officials allegedly placed the orders to the father-son firms without going through with the process.
Departmental sources say that though clearing certificates from the Tax Department is a must while inviting tenders, these two firms never even bothered to submit them and then too manage to bag the tenders. Questions are also being raised over the quality of product supplied by them. In one instance, the two firms lowered their own rates when a tender was re-invited for some items after a new head of the department took charge and over-ruled the predecessor and supplied chemicals and animals even before the orders could be formally placed.HoD (Zoology) Prof Pratima Gaur could not be contacted.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    K Sandeep Kumar is a Special Correspondent of Hindustan Times heading the Allahabad Bureau. He has spent over 16 years reporting extensively in Uttar Pradesh, especially Allahabad and Lucknow. He covers politics, science and technology, higher education, medical and health and defence matters. He also writes on development issues.

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