AIMING TO plug the loopholes in the tendering process that emerged during inquiries into the roads and drain desilting scams last year, the vigilance department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has designed a specific protocol to be followed by all ward-level officials while floating tenders. Apart from streamlining the system, the new protocol is expected to curb instances where estimates are inflated.
An official from the vigilance department said, in the existing system, there is a lack of uniformity leading to misuse of funds. “The central vigilance guidelines identified the problem areas which noted that in majority of the cases, ward officials often tend to make multiple estimates higher than required which give rise to malpractices. This template removes all ambiguity and maintains detail records of all estimates,” said the official.
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The protocol has been formulated in two stages in order to ensure preparation of effective estimates. While the first template focuses on pre-commitment to work, the latter will be filled at the conclusion which will include mandatory site inspections and quality checks.
Once filled, the templates will be uploaded onto an online portal which will be reviewed by the vigilance department. “Surprise visits will be conducted to scrutinise 25 per cent of the works which will be selected on the online system at random. If we find any anomaly, we will report them to the senior administration,” said the official.
The new system aims to give more decision-making powers to the engineer who is responsible for preparing the cost estimate of a particular work, added the vigilance department official.
“Often a councillor will ask for favours in the form of some personal work in their area. This system can prevent the misuse of councillors’ funds since the template will mandatorily require sanctions from the competent authorities before the tender is processed,” said the official. He added that while this will safeguard a junior or sub-engineer from coercion, it will also pin responsibility on the engineer in case of malpractices.
The protocol will be applicable to all tenders under which the scope of work ranges from a week to a couple of months. It will also include all e-quotations which are tenders of cost below Rs 3 lakh and un-star tenders ranging between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 25 lakh.
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “The protocol for the ward-related works is a part of the new vigilance system and expected to be enforced within a week’s time.”
In September, the vigilance department had formulated a similar system for engineering works which included periodic submission of compliance reports by the engineers and would later be corroborated by vigilance officials.