Visva orders desktop, gets old newspapers

The carton with old newspapers and magazines

Santiniketan: Visva-Bharati on Friday received a carton filled with old newspapers and magazines in place of a desktop computer which the varsity had ordered through the Centre's online e-commerce portal.

The Government e Marketplace (GeM), through which the order was placed, facilitates online procurement of commonly used goods and services required by its various departments, organisations and public sector units.

"Such frauds are often seen on private e-commerce portals. Its bizarre that something like this could happen on the Centre's website," said an official at the university. #Amit Hazra, the officiating registrar of Visva-Bharati, said police would investigate the matter.

"We had ordered a computer set and got a carton containing old newspapers and magazines in place of the item. We have lodged a complaint with police," he said.

Sources in the varsity said the item had been booked for around Rs 50,000 a few days back and the sealed package was delivered to the Visva-Bharati registrar's office by India Post on Friday.

The GeM, on its "about-us" page, says it "aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement". The portal states it was created on the basis of recommendations of a group of secretaries made to the Prime Minister.

"The purchases through GeM by government users have been authorised and made mandatory by Ministry of Finance by adding a new Rule No. 149 in the General Financial Rules, 2017," it adds.

The package was opened by officials led by joint registrar Saugata Chattopadhyay, who looks after the purchase and store department.

"I was surprised when I opened the carton. It was full of old magazines and newspapers. The computer set was supposed to be sold by an agency of Surat. I talked to senior officials and then lodged an complaint with the police for a proper investigation,"#said Chattopadhyay.

A senior official pointed out the package had not been delivered by a private courier but by the India Post services, which is also a central government agency.

"We don't know at which point the cheating took place. We will also inform the postal service," he added.


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