MUMBAI: After the controversy over a body bag purchase order, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) scrapped the tender and decided to place a new order.
The Opposition also smelled a rat in the mega isolation Covid centres where large numbers of beds are reportedly vacant against the demands. It is the first corruption allegation against the Shiv Sena-run BMC in the pandemic situation.
After social activist Mrs Anjali Damania's allegation of purchasing the body bags at inflated cost, the BMC cancelled the tender. She had tweeted that, “Disgusting BMC has given a contract of ‘Body Bags’ to Vedant Innotech Private limited, for Rs 6719 per bag. Directors are Satish & Vedant Kalyankar Main business is Casting of metals FYI, Satish Kalyankar, is a member of Censor Board Actual cost of a body bag is Rs 250 to 1200.”
The BMC had placed the tender for the procurement of additional 3,000 body bags. The BMC said it has bought 2,200 body bags so far at a cost of Rs 6,719 each. It clarified that "A tender was invited and during technical scrutiny, it was found that only one company was eligible. So, to ensure competitive pricing, we have decided to cancel the order," said the civic body in a statement.
On a question of why the bags were so costly, the civic body responded saying good quality bags were needed for the COVID-19 bodies.
BMC mayor Kishori Pedneka clarified that the ten firms participated in the body bags supplying tender process, out of which nine were disqualified due to various reason. “There is a scam and corruption in body bags purchase. The firm which has shown interest in supplying body bags to BMC is also supplying to various government departments including the Navy. In fact, we got these bags at a reasonable rate,” Amey Ghole, chairman of the BMC’s Health Committee pointed out.
Mayor said that they will not compromise with the quality of the product. “If the suppliers fit in all parameters prescribed by the BMC, then only we will buy these body bags,” Ms Pednekar said after her visit to central purchase office at Byculla on Saturday.
BJP ex-MP Kirit Somaiya also alleged that like body bags purchase, another scam is happening in COVID-19 isolation and quarantine centre setups. He said that many beds in these centres at vacant while people have been refused admission in these dedicated centres.