BBMP's green drive falls flat as no saplings planted this year

Blame put on delay in forming standing committees

BBMP's green drive falls flat as no saplings planted this year

The delay by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in forming 12 standing committees has affected the green drive so much that not a single seedling has been planted in the City out of Palike funds this year, officials say.

For the first time since its inception in 2007, the BBMP’s Forest Cell has failed to implement such developmental activities as planting of saplings, tree canopy management, identification of tree wardens, tree survey and numbering. The officials concerned say the delay in election to the standing committees is to be blamed for not planting the saplings. The committees came into effect only from September 16.

“We need the permission of the chairperson of the standing committee on horticulture, M Muniraju, who was appointed only in September. He would then consult the Palike Commissioner for issue of job codes,” said Chief Conservator of Forests, BBMP Forest Cell, Brijesh Kumar. A job code is nothing but the work decided, approved and budgeted. It carries unique number, description of job and money allocated to it by the Palike.
Without job code, no work order would be issued, he added.

In the budget for 2013-14, Palike allocated Rs 28 crore for the purpose, as against Rs 32 crore last year. The money, however, remained unused as work orders were not issued without job codes, the forest officials maintained.

Kumar further said that earlier tenders had been called and processed, in anticipation of the job codes. The job code files had been moved, starting from the first week of last May.

“We are still waiting for allocation of job codes and have listed works worth Rs 12.16 crore including the maintenance of old plantations and seedlings raised in BBMP areas,” he explained.

The forest cell maintained that last year about 1.60 lakh saplings were planted for Rs 11 crore. This year, plans are on to plant as many saplings at a  total cost of Rs 3.98 crore.

The cell would wait until October for the work orders. “The monsoon ends in October and there is no point in planting saplings later in the financial year,” an official said.

When contacted, Muniraju said he was yet to see the files and had held a meeting with the forest department officials a few days ago. He assumed office only a week ago and was yet to look into the proposal, he added.

BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana said he would directed Muniraju to approve the projects immediately. “The allocation of job codes is a matter of a few days and won’t take much time. Work orders will be issued as soon as approval arrives,” he told Deccan Herald.

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