1 park, 2 versions: RTI and reality

1 park, 2 versions: RTI and reality

68 guards in Cubbon Park, says RTI reply, but there are only a few

1 park, 2 versions: RTI and reality

Documents obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by four advocates, on behalf of the Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association (CPWA), show that there are a total of the 68 security guards in Cubbon Park. 

But a reality check shows that there are only a handful of them, claim CPWA members. 

Confirming this, a Horticulture department employee told Deccan Herald that from 2013 till date, there are only five to six guards for the 192-acre lung space. 

He said, “About 66 Home Guards were deployed on the park premises in the beginning of 2013, but they were removed after two months. The department spends about Rs 7.8 lakh every month on security, including payment to guards. Further, their attendance is not maintained properly.”

S Umesh, advocate and president of CPWA, along with other advocates Sakeena, Lingegowda and Vishwanath, representing UK Associates Lawyers Association, applied under RTI on December 9 last year, seeking information such as amount sanctioned by the government in the budget for Cubbon Park from 2013 till date, details about the security tender and constructions undertaken in the park.

Umesh and Lingegowda said that not only was the RTI information delayed to them by two months, the details furnished by the department in the documents were incomplete.  

Expenditure of funds“We sought details about the number of events organised at Cubbon Park, money collected from organisers and what purpose the money was utilised for. The park officials have maintained in the document that from 2013 till date, 31 events have taken place. We doubt the number and feel it is more,” Umesh said. He said that while the authorities have claimed to have collected Rs eight lakh from event organisers, no information was provided as to what purpose the amount was spent for. The RTIreveals differences in the amount sanctioned by the government for development of Cubbon Park and amount spent. The advocates now plan to approach the Lokayukta and the High Court against department officials. 

Info not delayed: officialMahantesh Murugod, Deputy Director of Horticulture department, Cubbon Park, dismissed the charges that the information was delayed.

 On the number of security guards, he said that it was only in the last three months the number of guards has decreased. 

Murugod said: “We have given all the information we have. Let them (CPWA and advocates) do what they want.”