How Palike officers played spoilsport

Scam comes to light in purchase of play material worth Rs 2.84 crore

How Palike officers played spoilsport

Corruption may be too mouthful a word for Poorvi M and Param M from ISRO Layout, given their age of eight years and four years. All that the siblings know is spending time in the playground every evening after a tiresome classroom session.

However, rampant corruption prevailing in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) may soon necessitate them to understand the meaning of corruption and its impact on their day-to-day life. They need to be educated that the education officers, sitting at the Palike's head office at NR Square, have deprived them of play materials in the playgrounds and parks of Bangalore, that could help them for their healthy growth, only for some paltry gain.

The scam-tainted BBMP is once again blemished by another financial irregularity- this time the Palike education officers hatched play material scam of Rs 2.84 crore, show documents accessed by Deccan Herald under the RTI Act.

This year in May, BBMP's special commissioner K R Nirajan received complaint about irregularities in the purchase and repair of play materials for the parks and playgrounds of the BBMP. Subsequently, he directed the Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC) to probe the matter. A week later, the TVCC came out with a report nailing the education officers of BBMP.

The probe revealed that on April 12, 2012, the BBMP education officer had called for short term tender for the supply and repair of play materials. The report casts serious doubts whether the equipment were ever bought. The TVCC engineers also felt that the education officers might not have visited the playgrounds for which they had procured play materials as they did not assess the requirement of the equipment.

The TVCC found that there was no job code and also, there was no administrative and technical approval from the higher-ups. The Draft Under Schedule (DUS) was also not obtained. Even the rates for each play material was not compared. The most surprising factor for the TVCC team was that there was no Detailed Project Report (DPR).

The TVCC executive engineer noted: “As per the Standard Tender Document of the Karnataka Public Works Department, DPR should have been prepared and approved by the competent authority if the cost of the project is above Rs one crore. However, this was not done by the education officer.”

It also noted that the tenders were floated on e-procurement portal without mentioning the required quantity of the play equipment. “E-Procurement portal must have been processed online starting from the tender-inviting authority to the commissioner's approval, which was not done,” says the report.

Appeasement

The report says that two firms had participated in the tender process viz M/s Toys and Sports; and M/s Vinyas Play System. The lowest bidder was Toys and Sports but the contract was not entrusted solely to it. Instead, it was divided equally between the two and the job was assigned to both of them.

“Dividing the work among the bidders is against the tender conditions,” says the report. It further says that after the approval of tender, eligible contractor should have been called for agreement through the letter of acceptance, which was not done. Also, the performance security deposit was not taken before the agreement.

“No agreement was made for the supply of material nor the work order was given. Even the defect liability period was also not mentioned. The bills for the works were claimed under the Direct Contingency Bill. Since tenders were called for this work, claiming payment through the DC Bill is not allowed. Also missing is the completion certificate,” says the TVCC report.

The TVCC has stated in the report that an explanation should be sought from the education officer.

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