Now, it's furniture scam in BBMP

Yet another ‘scam’ has surfaced in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and, the latest relates to irregularities to the tune of Rs 39 lakh in the purchase and supply of furniture for Palike-run schools.

An internal probe by the BBMP has revealed that while 2,021 pieces of furniture were to be supplied at a cost of Rs 1.49 crore, only 1,518 pieces worth Rs 1.10 crore were supplied in reality. This resulted in a loss of Rs. 39.12 lakh to the BBMP.

Recently, the BBMP Education department had procured book cases, filing cabinets, slotted angle racks, cupboards, cushion chairs and reading tables from S K Steel Industries for the libraries in the 47 Corporation schools and colleges across the City.

Following a complaint of discrepancy in the procurement of furniture, Palike Commissioner Rajneesh Goel on November 10 ordered the Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC) to probe the matter. An investigation was carried out on a random basis in 16 schools and colleges. Subsequently, the TVCC reported irregularities in purchase and supply.

Poor assessment

The most notable point the probe team found was that the furniture was purchased for schools and colleges even without ascertaining whether there was any infrastructure at these institutions for a library.

The team found that at least 15 schools and colleges did not have library rooms. As a result, the furniture was dumped in staff rooms or placed on the school/college corridors.

Another interesting finding of the TVCC was that a primary school and a high school were functioning from the same building and had a common library. 

However, the Education department officers had showed them as two libraries situated in different buildings and bought separate sets of furniture for them.

The report also observed that there were no records of the actual requirement of furniture for the Palike-run schools and colleges. No records existed to show whether administrative and technical approval was sought for the purchase.

The Education officers could not produce quotations reportedly given by three firms and, also records of permission sought from competent authority to float short-term tender. The TVCC officials also found that the delivery challans were tampered with. For example, the numerals '3' and '5' in challans were changed to '8' and  '9'.

The TVCC has recommended that  purchases made by the department for all the 47 schools and colleges should be probed thoroughly.

Following the TVCC report,  the BBMP Commissioner has said that he would initiate suitable action against the guilty officers.

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