AS MANY as one lakh students from 300 PMC-run primary schools have been attending their classes without wearing their regular school uniforms. The PMC education board could not purchase the uniforms for the students as the issue has been mired in litigation. Similarly, despite the winter chill making its presence felt in the city, the students in civic-run schools are yet to receive sweaters from the civic education department. Officials said this issue has remained stuck in tendering procedure.
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Civic administrative officer Shubhangi Chavan said the tender for purchasing uniforms was carried out in May so that the uniforms could be made available to the students at the beginning of new academic year in June. “However, due to a dispute over the allotment of contract, the purchase procedure for uniforms could not be carried out,” she said.
Officials said there were six contractors who had bid for the uniform contract from PMC. “Of the six contractors, five met the conditions set for bagging the contract. However, the sixth contractor failed to meet the conditions,” officials said.
The issue then went to the High Court and from there to the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court has directed the civic body to undertake the tender process for purchasing uniforms. However, the apex court has barred us from issuing the work orders. The case is likely to come up for hearing on Friday,” she said.
Education officials, however, denied that the students were attending the classes without uniforms. “In the last academic year, we had distributed the uniforms to them. A majority of them attend the schools wearing the uniforms available with them,” officials said.
As for the sweater issue, Chavan said the rates quoted by the contractors were too high and therefore, they could not allot the job to anyone of them. “Now the municipal commissioner will take a decision regarding this,” she said.
Chavan said the education board is likely to take a decision regarding purchasing sweater for a two-year period.