CAG faults Dental Council for Rs 1.32 cr mess

It’s Rs 1.32 crore down the drain for the Dental Council of India (DCI).

Two years back, DCI had sprung the huge amount for biometric attendance equipment to be installed in 290 dental colleges across the country to keep tabs on professors notorious for ‘bunking’ work, leaving lessons half-way and moonlighting in more than one college.

However, the machines in over half these colleges did not function, many were bought but not installed and others were forgotten about, a CAG audit of DCI’s expenditure has discovered.

In October 2009, DCI office-bearers had decided to implement a centralised biometric monitoring system so they could sit in New Delhi and snare professors who turned up in college only during inspections.

They had awarded the contract to a private firm that provided the equipment at Rs 54,240 each, with an additional annual maintenance charge of `10,000.

“Scrutiny in the audit revealed that the machines were installed in 267 colleges, but 131 of them did not work.

In view of the numerous complaints received about the non-functional machines, the council discontinued use of the system,” the audit says, pointing out that Rs 1.32 crore had already been spent on the equipment.

“The college had informed all of us about the new attendance system, but we have not heard anything since. No such machine was installed,” said a faculty member of a reputed dental college in Chennai.

“Biometric attendance system is followed world over; it is the most fool-proof means of recording when the teachers/students come and go.

The colleges should maintain the equipment properly and DCI should insist that they implement this,” said Dr Mayil Vahanan Natarajan, vice-chancellor of the TN Dr MGR Medical University.

“Nobody likes any technology that will affect their freedom; it is easy for colleges to complain that machines are defunct and do nothing about it.

Today, teachers who fail to mark attendance do not suffer loss of pay, but, in a couple of years, this will not be the case,” he added.

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