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Times Of India
14 June 2012

Mumbai: Using tax-payers’ money to make purchases at inflated costs has almost become a norm with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). This time, the civic body has proposed to buy two MRI machines from Philips Electronics India Ltd for its Shatabdi Hospitals in Govandi and Kandivli for Rs 16.46 crore, each costing more than Rs 8 crore. But a corporator, with the help of a doctor, has showed that the same machine can be procured from the same company for Rs 4.75 crore. The standing committee has ordered a probe into the matter.

The BMC had received three tenders—from Philips, GE and Siemens—for the MRI machine, Achieva 1.5. According to the proposal tabled before the standing committee on Wednesday, the BMC planned to acquire the machines from Philips as they had the lowest bid. But Rais Shaikh, group leader of Samajwadi Party, independently approached Philips and asked for a quotation for the 1.5T MRI (16 channel) machine–the same one that the BMC planned to buy. The final offer for the machine was pegged at Rs 4.75 crore. Warranty cannot double price: Docs

Mumbai:TOI is in possession of the quotation made by Philips Electronic India to SP corporator Rais Shaikh.

The civic administration, however, maintained that due norms were followed in this case. Dr Sanjay Oak, director (medical education and major hospitals), said, "We have followed the standard procedure. The proposal includes a fiveyear comprehensive maintenance cost and a three year warranty." Oak’s justification for escalation of costs has been refuted by city doctors. “How can the maintenance cost be double the cost of the machine? The machines automatically come with a warranty,” said the director of a city hospital.

Speaking to TOI, Shaikh said, “Nothing justifies the BMC’s action of procuring the two machines at such high cost. I have spoken to many doctors who say that there is nothing that can justify the escalated costs.” The specifications of the machine that the BMC plans to procure matches the specifications mentioned in the quotation presented to Shaikh. “The problem here is that there is no standard procedure that is followed by the BMC hospitals. The rates differ as per the whims and fancies of a select few.”

Reacting to the huge difference in the cost of the machines, the standing committee has asked the civic administration to probe the matter. "As per the proposal, we seem to be procuring the machines at a steep cost. The administration will have to reply in the next meeting," said Rahul Shewale, standing committee chairman.

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