Officers 'loot' Palike in the name of felled trees

Axed trees resurface in the record books

BBMP’s tree officers are under a cloud following allegations that they siphoned off crores of rupees on the pretext of paying for contract labour to fell trees which had been felled long ago.

An RTI query by NGO Civic Bangalore revealed that in 2007, the Palike felled 255 trees on Bellary Road near CBI Junction, Golf Club, near High Grounds police station, Cunningham Road, Windsor Manor, Cauvery Theatre and Balabrooie. Similarly, 199 trees were axed on Hosur-Sarjapur Road and 159 trees in the central zone.

In January 2008, the tree officer, in the response to the RTI query, confirmed that it earned about Rs 3.5 lakh by chopping off trees on Bellary Road. Thereafter, the road was widened up to the new airport, in time for its inauguration in May 2008.

However, the felled trees were ‘resurrected’ six months later. According to extracts of the detailed contingent bill of BBMP available with Deccan Herald, then assistant conservator of forests and senior officials of BBMP drew large amounts of money from the Palike account.

This went on between May and November 2008. Only a detailed inquiry will reveal how many crores of rupees were siphoned off by the officers concerned.

BBMP staff on warpath against BMTF

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officers and employees have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from Wednesday protesting against the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF).

R Subramanyam, President of BBMP Officers’s and Employees’ Association told Deccan Herald that more than 12,000 employees and officers associated with the BBMP including the doctors and teachers will go on an indefinite strike to protest the arrest warrants against many of the BBMP engineers including the BBMP Engineer-in-Chief B T Ramesh.

Subramanyam said, “The BMTF is functioning in an arbitrary manner although the 1996 order clearly states that it should function under the BBMP commissioner and the principal secretary to the Urban Development Department.

“We never had problem so far. But the BMTF has now started functioning like a police station and registering cases against us under IPC.

“The BMTF chief does not bother to seek the BBMP commissioner's permission before filing criminal cases against the engineers,” said Subramanyam.

On the other hand, Dr R P Sharma, the Additional Director General of Police of BMTF, said that the action of the police cannot be guided by offenders and a police station cannot function under the local body like a security force.

He said, “Being a police station, the BMTF has got all the rights to register cases under all the laws including the IPC.”

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