675 trees fetch just Rs 5.73 lakh!

675 trees fetch just Rs 5.73 lakh!

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa admits to gangs benefiting from auction

Trees chopped to make way for the Namma Metro in Audugodi Main Road is being transported on Thursday. DH Photo

Appreciating a question posed by JD(S) MLC M Srinivas on the price at which felled trees were being sold, Yeddyurappa accepted that the government would have to devise a plan to hold fair auctions for the timber. Action will be taken to check further losses, he added.

A total of 972 trees have been cut and auctioned from April 2007 to March 2009. While the Government had generated an income of only Rs 5.73 lakh from the auction of 675 trees felled in 07-08, it earned Rs 15.90 lakh from the auction of 297 trees in 2008-09.

‘Another scam’

Srinivas also questioned the chief minister on the huge difference in prices that each tree was being sold at.

He said the cost of one tree in 2007-08 was only Rs 849, while in less than a year, the price of each tree had appreciated to over Rs 5,500.

Leader of the Opposition in the Council V S Ugrappa suggested that this was another case of irregularity and the figures reeked of another scam.

Yeddyurappa said that the difference could be due to the quality of trees but conceded that there were several people who were making a profit out of it. The chief minister added that the difference in prices indicated a marked improvement in the auctioning.

He said, to compensate for the felled trees which are adding to the City’s depleting green cover, over 92,000 saplings in 07-08 and 1.1 lakh saplings in 08-09 were planted.

Citing the trees planted at Palace Grounds as an example, the chief minister said, the Government will not cut a single tree if there was no necessity.

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