Lokayukta to look into plantation claims made by Bangalore Development Authority
The claim by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) that it planted 26 lakh saplings across the city at an expense of Rs 38 Crores has evoked a notice from the Upa Lokayukta Subhash B Adi which says, “Such a huge number of plantation would have covered whole of Bangalore and made Bangalore complete green.” The figures of plantation and the money spend on it had been revealed following reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The reply also revealed that in violation of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTTP) Act, the work of planting trees was awarded to ‘Nirmiti Kendra’ which is a construction company and any experience of tree plantation.
The notice order follows an RTI-based expose by TOI in a report 'Trust BDA, namma Bangalore looks like the Western Ghats' published on September 6, 2014. The report revealed how BDA made tall claims about planting and maintaining several lakhs of saplings along roadsides, layouts, lake beds and places across the city.
The Upa Lokayukta notice has also been issued to the forest department, Bangalore Urban deputy commissioner, BBMP, zilla panchayats of Bangalore Urban and Rural districts and Nirmiti Kendra. They have been asked to come with documents on saplings/plantation programmes undertaken from 2009-10 to 2012-13 to find out details of plantations done in Bangalore region by November 17.
Plantation of saplings during the rainy season is a ritual which is performed in many parts of the country at a heavy cost. Even if half of all the trees planted in the various plantation drives across the country survived, the green cover would have been very high. Will such plantation drives continue to happen in future with little results?