Chennai: Although there are no violations as per the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act, syndicate members of the University of Madras have raised the issue over awarding Rs 4.88 crore worth contract involving the purchase of science equipment to a single tender.
However, the university officials said the university would lose the fund if they don't purchase science equipment by March 2019.
Under DST- PURSE phase II scheme (Department of Science and Technology (DST)- Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE)), the University of Madras has invited tenders for purchasing science equipment including Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM), Raman Spectrometer, Optical Microscope with fluorescence imaging.
According to sources, only a few companies submitted tender applications due to the specifications mentioned in the tender application. "Some of the companies have become ineligible after scrutiny of applications," sources said.
"As per the earlier procedure, if we receive single tender for any purchase, the university will normally go for retendering to get a competitive price," syndicate members said.
"With a single tender, we don't know whether it's a low price or high price. Though we did not violate tender conditions, the spirit of the tender is missing," they pointed out.
Some of the members also recorded their dissent at the syndicate meeting held on Friday.
P. Duraisamy, Vice-Chancellor of Madras University, said, "We have followed the Tamil Nadu Tender Transparency Act while taking the decision. The act does not prevent purchasing from a single tender."
The three-member expert committee consisting of professors from IIT Madras and Anna University gave the nod for the purchase.
"If we don't use the funds under the scheme before March, the university has to return it to the DST. We would lose the precious equipment if we opt to go for retendering," he explained.
The syndicate members also discussed giving approval to the appointment of principals in the minority colleges in the city including Loyola College, New College and Stella Maris College.
"Based on a court order, the advocate-general has given a favourable opinion in approving the principal posts," professors said.
But, the university officials decided to seek the government's opinion on the issue. "The advocate-general represents the Tamil Nadu government. So, seeking government approval is unnecessary," one of the syndicate members said. The university officials said the opinion was sought before the court order and the issue would be resolved soon.
Madras university to hike application fee
The Syndicate of Madras University on Friday authorised its Vice-Chancellor P.Duraisamy to increase the application fee and fee for qualification approval among others. "The application fee and fee for other processes were last revised in 2005. For more than a decade there was no hike," said P.Duraisamy, V-C of Madras University. "The university lacks resources to initiate various activities. At least a moderate increase is essential to ease the financial stress of the university," one of the syndicate members said.