After 3-yr delay, forest dept, BBMP to hold tree census

Volunteers census the trees in front of BDA complex, Indiranagar organised by iChange Indiranagar, Vruksha, United Bengaluru.

After much dillydallying, the Karnataka forest department and the BBMP will carry out a tree census with the help of volunteers in the ward committees.

Following his recent meeting with the BBMP forest wing officials, chief conservator of forests, state forest department, Gokul R said they have decided to rope in volunteers from each of the city wards for the project.

“The plan is to identify volunteers who are active and have a sense of responsibility towards the environment. We’ll prepare them with an intensive training programme held by the Indian Institute
of Science experts,” Gokul said.

With close to 200 wards in the city, officials plan to have four batches of training, with each having 50 volunteers. “They’ll be trained to identify different species of trees and would take up measures to such an extent that they’ll act as the local guardians of the trees,” Gokul added.

He also said the volunteers, receiving their certificates after the training, will know how to manage issues after a heavy downpour or when a tree is uprooted.

The idea of using volunteers from ward committees to do the tree count came days after Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun vowed to make ward committee meetings mandatory from the first week of December. BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad has also issued a circular in this regard.

“This is certainly a welcome move. We want the civic body to decentralise the (tree counting) process so that the local people will be aware of their surroundings. This can be a great beginning for ward committees,” said Srinivas Alavilli, a representative of Citizens for Bengaluru, who has been pushing the civic body to strictly hold ward committee meetings.

Gangambike said: “We will look forward to volunteers who come out for such initiatives (as the tree census) as it’ll help both the BBMP and the individuals to get to know their surroundings.”

Through the tree census, Gokul said his department wants to kickstart a movement to help people learn the importance of trees. 

The project, which should have begun in 2015, faced delays due to staff shortage.

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After 3-yr delay, forest dept, BBMP to hold tree census

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