Mismanagement by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials and the principals of 29-civic run schools has resulted in futile utilisation of the taxpayers’ money. After distributing uniforms to all secondary municipal schools, 1,200 new uniforms are lying unused at the PMC stores.
Civic officials blame the lapse on the principals, who they said miscalculated the requirement, which led to the stores department ordering excess.
“After scrutinising the requirement received from each school, we will ascertain which schools have made the mistake in counting students. We will take the action against the concerned principal,” said Shriniwas Kandul, head of the store department, PMC.
The store department had recently received a letter from the education board stating that the number of students have decreased this year, so the requirement of the uniforms is only for the 11,098 students. “We had already completed the purchases before receiving the letter from the education board.
There are 1,200 extra uniforms that were supposed to be given to 600 students. Now, however, we cannot return the excessive uniforms,” Kandul added.
“Moreover, these uniforms cannot be used in the next academic year. Every year we purchase and distribute uniforms for the secondary schools after receiving specific requirement from the education board. There are total of 29 secondary schools having more than 10,000 students. Each student gets two uniforms. There was a requirement of more than 20,000 uniforms for 11,700 students this year. According to requirement, we floated tenders and completed our procedure,” said Kandul.
Ideally, students should receive their set of two uniforms at the beginning of the academic year. But, every year they receive it in September. Education board officials claim that to arrive at the exact requirement it takes time. Because of dropouts and other reasons, teachers can get the accurate number of the students only after June. But despite the three-month time, the civic body went ahead with the purchase.
The uniform set consists of a shirt, trouser, tie, belt and shoes that cost anything from Rs 800 to 1,000. Incidentally, at the beginning of this financial year, the process of uniform purchase has been mired in several controversies. There was a conflict between PMC officials regarding assigning the contract to a Mumbai-based company or a firm based in Inchalkaranji. After resolving all issues, now the excess purchase of uniforms is raking another controversy.
“A proper procedure was formulated a few years ago to ascertain the average number of students, which should be conducted every year before the commencement of the academic year. But, they take their own time to finalise the tender because PMC officials get a cut from the contractor for assigning the contract. Two year ago, we exposed the corruption in the education board regarding the purchase of uniforms for primary schools. It is similar in the secondary school also. The amount spent on the excessive uniform should be recovered from the concerned officials,” said Vijay Kumbhar, civic activist.
The requirement of uniforms for secondary school students this year
The number of civic-run secondary schools in the city