Water filter supplying company & chikki maker advertise same number
Mumbai : The women and child welfare department headed by Pankaja Munde might once again find itself in trouble over its various procurement orders worth Rs 206 crore earlier this year. In what is being dubbed as the first scam of the Devendra Fadnavis government, multiple contractors appear to be sharing the same cell number.
The rate contract for the supply of water filter-cum-purifiers for the period from 12 February, 2015 to 30 June, 2015, which is in the name of M/s Everest Industries from Aurangabad, has the cell number +919823322798 mentioned in its address. Ironically, the same number is mentioned as the ‘Customer Care Cell’ number over the wrappers of the ‘Suryakanta Chikki’ procured under the same scheme on the same day. M/s Suryakanta Mahila Audyogik Sahakari Sanstha at Vengurla in Sindhudurga district had bagged the contract to supply the chikki.
This leads to the question about what the connection is between the water purifier supplying company in Aurangabad and the chikki manufacturing cooperative in Sindhudurga. The very fact that the two distinctly different industrial entities in districts hundreds of kilometres apart share the same number led to the suspicion that a racket involving contractors might be trying to systematically siphon off public money allotted under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and necessary procedures, including the submitting of documents, is being completed by a handful of people.
A more close scrutiny of contracts under ICDS in the past few years shows that the M/s Everest Industries from Aurangabad, who bagged the contract to supply water purifiers this year, had received a contract to supply plastic mats last year.
Meanwhile, in yet another goof-up, the department has assured the high court that it had stopped the distribution of Rajgira chikki across the state from July 10. But, none of the district level officials had received these orders, except those from the Gadchiroli district, till the RTI was filed in this regard in the month of August.
An affidavit filed by the women and child welfare department through Srihari Aaney, special counsel of the state government, on July 16 mentioned that the department had stopped the distribution of Chikki from July 10. But, RTI queries by Machhindra Patil revealed that only officials in Gadchiroli had received such an order from the women and child welfare department, and that too after he spoke to the department officials in Mumbai over the phone and asked them to send the order over email. Officials from all other 32 districts said that they had not received any such order from the department in response to the RTI query.
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