Activists smell a rat in civic body's tender for insecticide
After the tender was cancelled last year following allegations of corruption from activists, a fresh contract
has been drawn up, but this too has glaring loopholes
Last year, after activists alleged irregularities in the procurement of the anti-larval drug Tamiphos at rates much higher than those set by the government, the entire tendering process was cancelled, leaving the PMC’s health department red-faced with embarrassment.
Following the exposé, the PMC came up with a revised price close to the government rate, and also dropped the requirement of the insecticide to 4,100 litres, from the earlier 8,000 litres. However, activists who had exposed the matter last year have, yet again, raised questions on the re-tendering procedure this year as well. “The rate set by the government for Tamiphos is Rs 587 per litre. In spite of that, the PMC health department has finalised a contractor who has quoted Rs 702 per litre,” said RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar.
Last year, for the same drug, the health department was ready to pay as much as Rs 1,174 per litre. “In October 2013, the requirement for Tamiphos was 8,000 litres. How can it suddenly drop to 4,100 litres? Is it that the city’s health was critical last year and is absolutely fine this year?” asked Kumbhar.
When contacted, acting health chief of PMC, Dr S T Pardeshi, said, “The revised government rate for Tamiphos is Rs 635 per litre. Now, we have finalised a contractor who will sell it to us at Rs 702 per litre. The decision was made via an e-tendering process, which was open to all. If we have not received a bidder ready to take an order at the government-nominated rate, what can we do about it?”
Asked how the requirement was suddenly cut down to half than what had been required last year, he replied, “Six months have already passed after the whole tendering process got cancelled last year. We are initiating re-tendering for our requirement henceforth.”
Tamiphos is an anti-larval drug used to control mosquito borne diseases. The PMC’s standing committee will review the tender tomorrow. Kumbhar appealed to members of the committee to crosscheck before giving their stamp of approval to the tender. Despite several attempts, standing committee chairman Bapu Karne remained unavailable for comment.
The price per litre, at which the contractor will be selling the insecticide to the PMC