Committee says cost of bicycles was more in the open market

The Special House Committee, constituted to look into allegations of irregularities in the procurement of bicycles under a scheme to provide them to poor children of 8th standard, has given a clean chit to the Government by concluding that the process was transparent.

The committee was constituted after the then leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council V.S. Ugrappa alleged that the Government made excess payment of at least Rs. 250 per bicycle and that there were irregularities to the tune of Rs. 20 crore in the procurement of bicycles in 2009.

Though the Janata Dal (S) Floor Leader M. C. Nanaiah was initially appointed chairman of the committee, BJP member Tontadarya became its chief after Mr. Nanaiah resigned.

The committee, whose report was tabled in the Council on Thursday, states that the cost of the bicycles procured under the scheme was actually more in the open market. Besides, certain extra fittings too had been provided by the bicycle companies under the scheme, resulting in savings of a minimum of Rs. 155 per cycle, the committee said.

With this, the committee concluded that the exchequer had not suffered any loss.

Quality better

The committee also stated that the quality of bicycles that had been procured under the scheme was better than those available in the open market.

Pointing out that the meetings of the committees convened by the Chief Secretary to negotiate the prices had yielded positive results with the bicycle companies reducing their price, the committee recommended reconstitution of the present bicycle procurement committee by appointing the Chief Secretary as chairman and the principal secretaries to the various related departments as members.

The Special House Committee comprised MLCs K.C. Kondaiah, Marithibbe Gowda, Ganesh Karnik and Mohan A. Limbikayi as members in addition to the three official members.