RTI query belies BBMP claim on green panels

RTI query belies BBMP claim on green panels

Two-tier committees set up for monitoring greening do not exist

Did Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) lie to the Karnataka High Court on the formation of green panels?

To a query filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by a city-based campaigning organisation Jhatkaa.org, BBMP public information officer (PIO) has replied that the two-tier committees created by BBMP for monitoring the greening of the city — the Greening Committee for Bengaluru North and South and Samanvay (Co-ordination) committee — do not exist.

The civic body had claimed in the High Court in 2014 that it had set up these two green committees.
The campaigning organisation maintained that they got serious doubts over the committees' existence when they were invited to be part of the North Zone Tree Committee.

“We were not consulted for any of the projects including the road widening project of Jayamahal Road. We were also unaware about the committee members and its functions and hence, decided to know the truth,’’ said one of the representatives of Jhatkaa.org.

One of the BBMP officials when contacted, told DH that in the past there was one BBMP tree committee but now it does not exist. “I have never heard about these two committees,” the official who did not wish to be named, said.

‘BBMP has no expertise’
The RTI responses also revealed that no feasibility studies were conducted on the proposed axing of 112 trees on Jayamahal Road and so far, not a single tree was transplanted.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad had earlier stated in the media that there was no choice but to axe 70 trees and translocate 45.

“The RTI responses shockingly reveal BBMP’s arbitrary approach to the issue of tree felling. They have categorically stated that there was no other choice. But how do they know that they have no choice without conducting any traffic research, feasibility surveys or scientific studies to come up with alternative proposals?” said Avijit Michael, executive director, Jhatkaa.org.