Cubbon Park becomes soft target for tree smugglers

Cubbon Park becomes soft  target for tree smugglers

Two incidents of stealing plants in a fortnight

Stealing and smuggling of trees has continued unabated at Cubbon Park in the City in spite of posting several security guards. Occurrences of such incidents in the last fortnight have served as evidence to the ongoing menace, say members of the Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association.

On February 9, around seven in the morning, the guards caught an individual redhanded when he was trying to smuggle an ornamental plant from the park’s nursery. The culprit is a daily wage labourer and hails from Malur in Kolar district.

Recounting the incident, Shivanna, Security Supervisor at Cubbon Park said: “We immediately informed the incident to the Cubbon Park police. Although there are a total of 40 guards on duty from 8 am to 8 pm, it becomes difficult to keep a tab on people as the park is huge. This year, we have warned close to 20 people for preying on trees and plants.”

Repeat occurrence

A similar incident occurred last week at the park. Walkers were shocked to see a group of people cutting bamboo stems and taking them away. “We do not know who these people were. I have seen them chopping the bamboo stems on many occasions. They leave the stems out to dry and then take them away,” said Asha Sundar, a regular at the park.

Let off easy 

The Cubbon Park Police Station maintained that they register cases against culprits or possible suspects whenever they receive complaints from the public, the guards or the Horticulture department. With reference to Sunday’s incident, police officials said “The accused is a daily wage labourer and we have let him off with a warning. As it happens to be a case of petty theft, we slapped a fine of Rs 100 and did not register a case.”

According to the Horticulture department, Cubbon Park, which sprawls across 190 acre, boasts of being home to 6,000 different plants and trees belonging to 68 genera and 96 species. Director of the Horticulture department, D L Maheshwar, told Deccan Herald, “The security guards in the park were recruited newly, as per the government’s directions. The fine amount imposed on an offender depends on the value of the property they have stolen or damaged. We have caught many such people till date.”

President of the association, S Umesh said that he had brought the issue to the department’s notice about a week ago, but the authorities concerned did not respond favourably. “The Horticulture department has set rules that the gates of the park should be closed by 10 pm. However, I find that the gates are open during the restricted hours. The security needs to be heightened,” he added. 

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