BANGALORE: A State-run education training institute spent `28,100 on cleaning three toilet rooms for six consecutive days.
The Bangalore Urban District Institute for Education Training (DIET) has claimed the amount through 18 toilet cleaning bills submitted to the government between February 28 to March 6.
This is the period in which the institute conducted a training programme for government pre-university lecturers at its Rajarajeshwari Nagar campus.
A scrutiny of the bills submitted to the government by the institute, copies of which are with Express, reveal several discrepancies. On March 15, the institute submitted detailed contingency (DC) bills of the training programme amounting to `9.81 lakh to the District Treasury. The amount was sanctioned by the Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT). Insiders believe that the institute submitted evidently dubious bills showing expenditure.
“We actually had BBMP workers come to the campus to clean our toilets for a pittance,” said a DIET staff member when asked about the toilet cleaning bills.
During the period, the institute had raised receipts to show the purchase of as many as 1.64 lakh Xerox papers. This includes the purchase of 10 reams of sheets on March 1 at a cost of `160 each (one ream typically has 500 sheets), followed by the purchase of four reams on March 3.
During the same period, the institute shows receipts of purchase of another 64 reams at a cost of `240 each, followed by 250 reams at a cost of `230 each on March 17 through the Bangalore Rural District Supply and Marketing Cooperative Society.
“Anyone can check our stocks register. The institute has not received this money. At least, 80 per cent of the purchases have not reached us,” said a staffer. “There is no trace of the 20 pen drives with 16 GB capacity that were purchased for `15,000 during the training.”
A bill dated February 27 shows an expenditure of `1,899 towards photocopies. The name of the service provider is Sri Venkateshwara Enterprises at Padmanabhanagar, whose pincode is 560018. On March 4, another bill shows photocopies worth `1,005. The pincode belongs to Chamarajpet.
On February 28, a bill from Harshitha Flowers shows that 15 flower bouquets costing `300 each were purchased. While DIET staff say they did not see any bouquets during the training programme, the flower shop said the institute took some empty bills on the pretext of ‘taking reference to print some of their own bills.’
A bill from a computer shop for `16,292 towards repair and servicing of a Toshiba E-305 photocopier was submitted, but “no repair was actually done,” according to DIET staffers.
The institute has spent `2,500 on water cans from a novelties shop on various dates in the training period. The serial number of a February 28 bill is 39, while the serial number on a March 1 bill is 37, pointing to the possibility of empty bills being filled up randomly.
‘No Misuse of Funds’
Discrepancies were also found in the bills submitted by the DIET to conduct district-level Inspire Awards programme in November. All the bills, which were submitted to the treasury, were signed by DIET principal T N Gayathri Devi. “There has been no misuse and the DSERT has okayed the bills” she told Express.
Asked specifically to comment on the toilet cleaning bills, Devi justified the expense. “We had more than 200 lecturers who participated in the training, which was held at State-level and district-level. This batch of teachers hadn’t received any prior training and one can imagine how it must have been on the campus. There is a dearth of people who can clean toilets,” she said.
She said the reams of Xerox papers were purchased based on requirement and they were distributed among the institute’s staff members. “This is not the first time I have been asked about the bills. As a government official, we are always careful and manipulation is not very easy. I am facing a lot of harassment. Some people are targeting me by seeking unwanted RTI queries. I have brought this to the notice of the higher officials.”