Sunday, October 31, 2010

[HumJanenge] [HumJanenge] PCMC feels heat over Rs 22-lakh sweater deal row

Audit report slams education board for ‘wasteful’ expenditure and giving students sweaters, twice in March and July. The Accountant-General’s (A-G) office has passed strictures against the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s education board, calling its move to purchase sweaters for primary school students worth Rs 22 lakh as “unnecessary and an avoidable expenditure”. The A-G’s office has also taken strong objection to the fact that the sweater distribution began at the fag end of the academic year in March rather than during winter for which they were purchased.
The strictures â€" passed by the Office of senior deputy Accountant-General office, Local Bodies (Audit and Accounts), in Mumbai â€" have come to light after a reply to an RTI query filed by city-based activists Vihar Durve and Shriram Pandey.
With a view to provide sweaters to slum children and poor kids, the PCMC education board executed an agreement with Pravin Traders, Ludhiana to purchase 57,638 sweaters for 2007-2008 academic year for Rs 88 lakh, the audit report said. “The agreement was executed on November 30, 2007. The supply was to be made within 45 days. An advance payment of over Rs 65 lakh was made by the board on March 29, 2008,” the report said. “A scrutiny of the challan revealed that these sweaters were distributed at the fag end of academic year i.e. from March 28, 2008. The distribution went on till July, 2008” the report added.
Durve said the audit report points out that the decision of the board to purchase the sweaters for first-standard students was not justified, as these students had received the sweaters only in March 2008 when they were in (balwadi) nursery. “The expenditure of about Rs 22 lakh incurred for purchasing sweaters in 2008-9 for first-standard students was wasteful and amounts to double the benefit since they had received the sweaters in 2007-8 when they were in balwadi,” the audit report said.
When contacted, Municipal Commissioner Asheesh Sharma said his administration would probe the matter and find out what exactly went wrong. “Actually, this issue was apparently discussed with the board members and necessary instructions had been given to the board to ensure that there was no delay whatsoever in purchases made for primary school students,” Sharma said. Education officer Hari Bharati, who has recently been transferred, said the purchases were made before he took charge. “I can’t comment on those purchases. But, yes, during my tenure we ensured that everything was done on time,” Bharti said.
PCMC Primary School principal J M Marale said, “This is an age-old problem and systemic failure. It is time an independent monitoring authority is appointed to keep the education board on its toes.”

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Posted By Hum Janenge to HumJanenge at 10/31/2010 10:16:00 AM

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