Tuesday, 14 November 2017

MU tweaked, undermined Tender Conditions to benefit Merit Trac Company

In a shocking revelation it  has come to light that,, the Mumbai University had resorted to dilute the criteria for selection of contractor to implement it's On Screen Marking (OSM) by way of reducing the minimum turnover and reduction of Minimum Technical Score criteria for selection process of the contract in its Tender process. In the original tender documents the minimum requirements for qualification in the tender process was pegged at Rs 100 crores was reduced to Rs 30 crores and the requirements of Minimum Technical Score for consideration in qualifying for the tender was scoring 70 points, who was modified to 60 points to probably facilitate the tender in favour of the chosen contractor. The dilution in the pre qualification criteria proved beneficial to the bagging of the OSM contract to Merit Trac. 

RTI Activist Anil Galgali had sought information from the Mumbai University about the Online paper evaluation and other related informations. From the documents provided by the Mumbai University's Central Evaluation Center it can be ascertained that, in order to facilitate and benefit a specific company the tender was issued 4 times. The University had issued the tender for the first time on 28th February 2017 for implementing the OSM system of paper correction for the first time for the March 2017 Examinations being conducted by the University to which it didn't receive any response. After that the University diluted it pre qualification criteria by reducing the Minimum Turn Over required from Rs 100 crores to Rs 30 crores and the Technical Score requirements from Minimum 70 points to 60 points. The tender process was extended upto 21st March 2017, during which 2 companies participated in the process. Since the process required a 3rd tenderer, an second extension was given upto 27th March 2017 which also resulted in non application by a 3rd tenderer. Thereafter a Tender selection committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr Vijay Joshi. On the assessment of the tenderers it was found that Tata Consultancy services had scored 95 points, whereas Merit Trac had scored 45 points. Also the Merit Trac was not even present at the Technical Tender selection meeting, also no demonstration of its technology was given before the Tender selection committee. Merit Trac, company which did not appear before the Tender selection committee, came before the University's Management Council on 28th April 2017 along with the IT department's coordinator Dr Suresh Ukrande and provided detailed information. In a surprising act the Purchase Committee had given the contract to Merit Trac just a day earlier on 27th April 2017 even before appearing and presentation before the Management Council. In the Management Council, the Govt representative's Siddarth Kharat, Dr Rohidas Kale and Dr Subhash Mahajan had voiced it's opinion against the process, but the Vice Chancellor taking personal responsibility took the decision in favour of Merit Trac on some unknown pressure. This enquiry if conducted, will reveal the hidden connections between Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh, which inconvenienced lakhs of Students and played havoc on their careers, expressed Galgali. 

The Tata Consultancy Services were ignored only on the criteria of higher cost, though they scored the highest on the technical score and technology presentation. The Tata's had quoted Rs 49.90 in comparison to Merit Trac's quotation of Rs 23.90. Merit Trac could not even meet the diluted criteria of required Technical Score of 60 points, whereas their score was 45 points. The  issues which need specific attention are that, Merit Trac was handed over the confirmation letter on the very next day of its selection on 27th April 2017, even ahead of its presentation before the Management Council and also non presentation before the Tender selection committee. Merit Trac was issued the work order on 2nd May 2017 and the contract was signed on 8th August 2017. 

The Technical Committee which awarded the contract to Merit Trac and responsible for the mess, comprising of Dr Vijay Joshi, Dr Suresh Ukrande and Rajendra Dhanole was given exoneration by the Vice Chancellor. In the 5 member Committee the above mentioned three members decided in favour of Merit Trac unanimously and hence actions need to be taken against their activities. 

Anil Galgali in a letter addressed to Governor Chi Vidyasagar Rao, who is also the Chancellor of Mumbai University has demanded a complete enquiry into the tender process for selection of the OSM contractor, he also demanded actions against the Technical Committee. He further stressed that, by ignoring the technical competence, and the reason of only with a veiw of saving money of the University, Merit Trac was awarded the contract is not convincing, there seems to be some other active  connections between Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh which facilitated the award of contract  to Merit Trac cannot be ruled out stated Galgali. If CID inquiry recommended by Governor then real picture come in light.

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