Mr Commissioner why has no action been taken against culprits?

Apr 23, 2013, 05:50 IST | Sukirt D.Gumaste and Niranjan Medhekar

While Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak has sent a report about the scam to the government demanding a probe, the director of state education department said the matter comes under PMC's jurisdiction, and the former has power to initiate action against those involved.

It has been about a month since the Rs 2.4 crore scam –, which took place while granting tenders to organise picnics for students of civic schools – came to light. But no action has been initiated against those involved in the matter. Moreover, PMC corporators are now alleging that the civic commissioner is trying to protect members of the education board.

It did happen: Mahesh Pathak has admitted that there were loopholes in sanctioning tenders to organise picnics for students of civic-run schools. File Pic

“There were loopholes while sanctioning the tenders. Ideally the one who bids the lowest is awarded the contract, but that was not the case here. We have sent a report on the same to the state government and have demanded a probe,” said Pathak.

However, Director of State Education Department Mahaveer Mane said that he has already made it clear that the matter falls under PMC’s authority, and that the civic commissioner has the power to initiate action against those found guilty in the inquiry.

Pocket money! Around 87,000 children study in 310 schools run by Pune Municipal Corporation. File Pic

‘It’s their lookout’
“The state government doesn’t give grants to municipal corporations to arrange school picnics. It’s their money, and hence it’s they who need to take action,” Mane said. He added that as the PMC has already found out that there has been a scam, and that it has the right to suspend the culprits.

Meanwhile, all the political parties expressed their concern regarding the scam at the PMC’s General Body (GB) meeting yesterday. The corporators demanded suspension of the chairman of the education department. They also demanded that all rights of department be withdrawn.

Avinash Bagawe, a corporator from the Congress party, objected to the PMC commissioner’s decision of sending the inquiry report directly to the state government.

Helping culprits?
“The PMC administration cannot send the report without seeking permission of the GB. The body has right to take to even dissolve the education board and register a criminal case against the board members.

We could have reached a consensus had the report been presented in the GB meeting today. However, by sending it directly to state government, the municipal commissioner has actually delayed the matter.”

In the GB meeting, corporators claimed that the PMC took Rs 350 from each student, while the actual amount to be charged was Rs 210. Thus, the authorities collected Rs 140 extra from 65,000 students.

Also, they alleged that the buses used to ferry students during the picnic did not have the required permit. 

No fun and games
The scam came to light last month when some activists complained about corruption in the appointment of the travel agency. Later, it was revealed that a contractor had offered a lower bid, but the tender was allotted to the travel company that charged much higher. The picnic was allegedly organised in a hurry and that too during the exam period to ensure that the allocated budget for the same doesn’t lapse. Interestingly, the picnic spots were owned by people close to the members of the education board.

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