Ardhra Nair, March 19,2017

Source: The Times of India

Pune : Civic Board Blames Contractors

Students in several Pune Municipal Corporation-run schools have been attending classes in civil clothes as they never got their uniforms, even though the year-end is here.All children studying in civic schools from standards I to VIII get their uniforms from Pune Municipal Corporation’s school board for free.

The board’s officials had earlier said the students were given their uniforms in phases, but teachers and students claimed they were not given any .

The board runs about 300 schools where approximately 1.14 lakh students study. None of the principals who spoke to TOI wanted to be identified.

“Ours is a primary school.We have over 150 students here.None of them have received any uniform sets this year,“ the headmaster of a PMC school from Mundhwa said.

Another headmaster of a school in Katraj said, “ The quality of the uniforms given last year was very poor. After some washes they became unfit to wear. They start to tear and within a month or two, students start wearing civil dresses instead of the uniform.“

This academic year, none of the students in this school received any uniforms.

While other headmasters said the students had received bags, shoes and other material from the school board, the quality of these products was poor. “The shoes already have holes in them. There is no sign of uniforms as yet. We were told they will now come in the next academic year,“ the headmaster added.

Chairperson of the school board Vasanti Kakade said when the academic year started in June they had issued work orders for uniforms to a contractor. “ However, another contractor went to court challenging our decision. The case was decided in September and the court told us to go for a re-tendering process, but not to issue work orders. After the re-tendering, another contractor got the contract. So the first one who had initially got the contract went to court,“ she said, explaining the delay .

The issue did not end here.“The matter went to Supreme Court, which on February 20, ruled that students should not face any problems due to the court case and told us to issue work orders,“ she said.

“Now, we have submitted a file requesting issuing of work order to the municipal commissioner on February 27 or 28. He has not yet acted on it. Since the funds are above Rs 10 lakh, we cannot issue work orders without his permission,“ added Kakade.

She further stated that before the first case was filed against the work orders, the first contractor had already supplied uniforms to about 19,000 students.

Municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar said, “The file has reached me three-four days ago.There are legal issues and there is a direction from the state government dated January 5 to go for direct benefit transfer instead of such purchases. We are examining the matter and a decision is expected in a day or two.“