BBMP incurs HC wrath for tree census delay

BBMP incurs HC wrath for tree census delay

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The BBMP on Monday faced the ire of the Karnataka High Court for failing to understand its directions and follow the tree protection law while also failing to take up the tree census.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Hemanth Chandangoudar was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Dattatreya T Devare and the Bengaluru Environment Trust.

The advocate for the petitioners said the agreement for tree census between the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST) has several flaws. As per the agreement, only trees on public properties and roadside will be counted while those grown on private properties will not be considered. This is in violation of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act. Also, three months after the deadline, the tree census is yet to begin, the advocate said.

The petitioner sought that the census be held as per Section 7 of the Act, which requires that all trees be counted.

The court took the BBMP as well as the IWST to task for exclusion of trees on private land and questioned whether officials were unable to understand its previous order on conducting tree census.

The bench directed them to file an affidavit explaining the lapses and fixing responsibility for the errors. It also told the government to explain its stand on the issue. The case was postponed to February 11.

Following the high court's order, the Palike had on October 10 stated it would take up the work on counting of tree in a month. However, the census is yet to take off.