Either the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is feeling too altruistic or it needs to go back to school for maths lessons.
Though the civic body runs 1,296 schools with 4,33,111 students studying in primary and secondary sections, it has proposed to distribute more than 50 per cent additional schools items free of cost to the students.
According to the BMC, 4,33,111 students study in primary and secondary sections of 1,296 schools. FILE PHOTO
Take school bags, for instance. The BMC has proposed that 10.87 lakh schools bags be purchased for 4.33 lakh students for a two-year period. As far as school uniforms are concerned, the civic body distributes two every year — which adds up to 17.5 lakh uniforms (two uniforms per student for two years) for 8.66 lakh students. The civic body, however, has proposed to purchase more than 21 lakh uniforms instead.
The BMC had appointed a contractor to provide about 27 schools items, including school bags, uniforms, geometry boxes, shoes, books and raincoats for two years in 2012, which cost the body Rs 181 crore.
Smelling a rat, opposition parties have demand an inquiry into this matter. “There should be a thorough inquiry into these purchases. How has the BMC’s education department come up with these estimates when they know exactly how many students study in their schools?” demanded Sandeep Deshpande, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator, who is also a member of the civic standing committee. He also alleged that the estimated cost of purchases is much higher than the retail prices of the items. “Since these are bulk purchases, the cost of the items should be lower than the retail price,” alleged Deshpande.
“The BMC should purchase only five to 10 per cent additional items, just in case some pieces turn out to be defective,” said Congress corporator Pravin Chheda. He, too, demanded an inquiry into these estimates. “The BMC should first clarify the number of students studying in civic schools, excluding those studying in private aided and non-aided schools. There is no proper record yet, and the education officials are taking advantage of this fact and misleading other officials,” opined Chheda. Sunil Dhamne, deputy municipal commissioner who is inchange of Education Department remained non-committal on the matter. “I will have to look into this issue. I cannot comment offhand.”
1,296: BMC-run primary and secondary schools
4,33,111: No. of students
13,410: No. of teachers