The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has floated a tender to buy canvas shoes and black socks for children studying in the municipal schools of Mumbai. This comes at a time, when the city is fighting the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and there are immense financial constraints all around.
Initially the tender was floated on December 18, 2020, however, the deadline for online submission of bids was later changed in a revised tender published on February, 2, 2021. According to the final tender document, the estimated amount of floated tender is around Rs 12.21 crore and the duration of the contract period will be around 18 months.
The deadline of bid submission was January 18, 2021 in the initial document, while in the revised document; the deadline was extended till February 3, 2021.
Meanwhile, Vinod Mishra - senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator and group leader of the party in the BMC has written to the civic administration on this issue and said that during this time when the civic body is facing so much financial crisis, floating such proposals is a misuse of public money.
"The schools are closed and classes are being taken online, by floating this tender the education department has been able to block fund amount worth Rs 12 crore," Mishra told FPJ.
"This amount could have been used in strengthening the medical infrastructure by getting more beds or oxygen cylinders for the Covid patients," Mishra told FPJ.
In the tender document it is also mentioned that each pair of shoe will carry a logo of MCGM and the same would be distributed in a biodegradable bag.
Sandhya Doshi - chairperson of BMC education committee said as the tenders were floated last year and the BMC hasn't paid any money to the suppliers yet.
"We haven't received the products and in return the BMC hasn't paid any money to the contractors either, the products will be handed out to the students only after the schools reopen," Doshi told FPJ.
A senior official of the BMC central purchase department told even though the tender has been finalised, the civic body still need to do multiple assessment before confirming the final contract. He also mentioned that the products will be supplied based on the order placed by each school.
"The due date of the final contract was on April 15 this year, however, due to the second wave we had to push the deadline and further steps will only be taken after things become normal and schools reopen again," the official said.