Uniform proposal cleared despite MLA’s objections

Senior BJP leader Devendra Phadnavis had written a letter to then civic body chief Subodh Kumar, warning him that there were irregularities in several clauses of the BMC’s tenders.

mumbai Updated: May 12, 2012 01:16 IST
Alok Deshpande
Alok Deshpande
Hindustan Times

The Shiv Sena-BJP led civic body decided to buy stationery and uniforms for civic schools at higher rates than retail prices despite the objections of senior BJP MLA Devendra Phadnavis.

A day after HT reported about the purchase scam in the BMC, it came to light that the proposal to make purchases worth Rs181.55 crore was pushed through by the alliance-dominated standing committee brushing aside objections raised by Phadnavis.

Phadnavis had written a letter to the then municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar in January, when the tenders were issued, warning him that the civic body had in earlier years purchased goods at rates higher than that of their maximum retail price (MRP).

He had also mentioned that the clauses added in this year’s tenders were irregular and it would cost the civic body around Rs30-40 crores more. In spite of his letter, neither the administration nor his own party took any action.

HT had on Friday reported how tenders worth Rs181.55 crores were sanctioned without cross-checking the actual market price, which will result in taxpayers’ money landing in to the pockets of BMC’s contractors.

“There is a nexus between the BMC officers and contractors. It is the administration who issues tenders and they have put twisted clauses in tenders, which benefit certain contractors. I wanted to expose that nexus,” said Phadnavis. “I will ask my party corporators to study these tenders and will ask them to clear discrepancies in the tender notices,” he added.

The BMC in its tender notice had asked audit information of only the last year contractors who bid to supply uniforms and school bags. In case of notebooks and shoes, they asked the audit report of last three years. They had not asked for any audit report for contractors supplying geometry boxes, raincoats and umbrellas.

“Why can’t the BMC apply a similar set of rules for all contractors? It is clearly to favour certain individuals. We have written a letter to municipal commissioner asking him to conduct an inquiry and to cancel the tenders,” said Sandip Deshpande of the MNS.

The BMC also insisted on the products of a few specific companies. This ruse enabled them to make sure that only a few contractors, who supplied the companies’ products, got the contracts.

First Published: May 12, 2012 01:14 IST