Corporators rejected a proposal of procuring onions at Rs 14.8 per kg from contractors, at a BMC standing committee on Wednesday. They said that it was impossible for contractors to supply food items at such cheap rates.
Three contractors have been supplying items like onions, bhindi (lady’s finger), doodhi (bottle gourd), karela (bitter gourd), cucumber, curry leaves, bread, tea and eggs for municipal hospitals.
One of the three contractors, Cheruvattam, handles the two other companies that have been supplying items to the municipal hospitals. This makes Cheruvattam the only contractor for the past 15 years.
Congress corporator Pravin Chheda, who raised the issue at the meeting, said, “The contractor has been promising huge quantities on paper and supplying only a small per cent. The civic body is incurring huge loss because of this.”
Congress corporator Asif Zakaria said, “Municipal hospitals have ordered for 55,000 kg onions this year for which the contractor has quoted a price of Rs.14.80, which is three times lesser than market price. Since it is impossible to supply items at this rate, the contractor is probably supplying lesser quantity and using bogus reports to cover up the deficit.”
According to the tender submitted this year, the contractor has proposed to sell curry leaves at Rs 40 per kg. In 2012, the contractor had quoted Rs 60 per kg for curry leaves and Rs 15 per kg for onions.
“Contractors cannot get such tender applications passed without the aid of the administration. We have demanded that the administration provide reasons for passing such applications in the previous years and submit reports of the order and supply of the food items,” said BJP group leader Dilip Patel.
Samajwadi Party leader Rais Shaikh said, “Every proposal goes through a pre-audit approval from the administration before it comes to the standing committee for review. It is strange that the administration has managed to pass such proposals earlier.”
The issue will come up for review again at the next standing committee meeting.