Thursday, May 25, 2017

RTI query reveals civic ‘malpractice’

Times of India: Pune: Thursday, May 25, 2017.
An RTI query has revealed that the Pune Municipal Corporation bought five sonography machines for its hospitals at inflated rates this year, causing a financial loss of Rs 70 lakh to the exchequer.
Vivek Velankar of Sajag Nagarik Manch, a citizen's forum, had sought the purchase information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act along with other activists.
"Civic health officials purchased four machines manufactured by Hitachi at the rate of Rs 23.85 lakh each this year. The same machines are available at a price of Rs 13 lakh each in the market. Besides, another machine manufactured by the same firm was purchased at Rs 59.45 lakh against the market price of Rs 32 lakh," Velankar alleged.
He said, "All the five machines were procured after inviting bids and have been purchased from the same supplier. Even the PMC endorsed the supplier's quoted rates saying that 'they (rates) are congruent with the market price'. Overall, the health department has wasted Rs 70 lakh of tax payers' money in this purchase."
The activists have also alleged that the purchase of additional five machines was made when the existing ones were lying underutilised at 15 PMC-run hospitals.
Velankar said a complaint has been lodged with the Anti-Corruption Bureau in the purchase issue.
When contacted, head of PMC's health department S T Pardeshi refuted the allegations. "The purchase was made through a tendering process, under which the lowest bidder (supplier) was awarded the tender. Moreover, the cost of machines also includes VAT, fitting and annual maintenances charges."