Civic body put brakes on cycle scheme since distributor did not interact, negotiate!

After showing 2,522 civic school students light at the end of the tunnel, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) yesterday just drove them into another tunnel. The already delayed plan to dispense bicycles to these kids has been put on hold again, as, according to sources, the members of standing committee refused to approve the work order of the project only because the contractor selected through tendering process had not ‘interacted’ and ‘negotiated’ with them.

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When this reporter tried to reach corporators from different parties who are part of the standing committee, except one, all of them expressed ignorance about why the proposal got postponed. MiD DAY had carried an account on Tuesday (‘After much soft-pedalling, PMC to gift bicycles to schoolkids) on how the target of delivering bicycles to students was to be completed in the next two months, after the approval of the standing committee. But, after a prolonged discussion over the project, the committee put off the scheme.

“The standing committee members were unhappy, as the distributor selected by the administration had not ‘met’ them,” revealed one councillor on the condition of anonymity.

He added that in such a big tender (Rs 1 crore), it is ‘expected’ that the contractor would interact and negotiate with standing committee members.

Standing committee chairman Vishal Tambe remained unavailable for comment. MNS councillor Ravindra Dhangekar first said that he had attended the meeting. But when asked specifically about the postponed proposal, he said, “I was not part of the entire meeting. I don’t know of any developments regarding that proposal.”

Shiv Sena corporator Prithviraj Sutar confirmed that the cycle proposal had been postponed, but could not share the reasons. MNS councillor Kishor Shinde, whom MiD DAY also contacted, was busy with toll protests, and so was absent from the meeting.

Finally, while explaining the reason, BJP corporator Hemant Rasne said, “There were many flaws in the tendering process for this project. We asked the administration to include this topic in the next standing committee meeting, and only if the concerned officials would explain how they selected the contractor will we give our approval.”

When asked whether ‘lack of communication’ between corporators and the selected contractor was the cause, he laughed and said, “No, it is not like that. We are in favour of this project. We are just following the procedures.” However, the docket of the proposal (MiD DAY has a copy of the same), which PMC store department submitted to the standing committee, seems to suggest that all due processes were followed while finalising the bicycle distributor.

PMC has picked out Universal Trade Link based in Mumbai – an official distributor of Hero cycles. The firm offered the lowest price to the civic body, at Rs 3,520 per cycle against the market price of Rs 3,600. The provision of Rs 1 crore is already part of the 2013-14 budget.

When contacted, Srinivas Kandul, superintending engineer of PMC (central storeroom), refused to elaborate, but confirmed that the project had been put off.

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