BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) may claim that it has spent crores on planting saplings across the city, but the Upa Lokayutka has found that the authority entrusted the work to a company that has expertise only in building concrete jungle.
Violating the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTTP) Act, the BDA awarded the contract of tree planting to Nirmiti Kendra, which is only competent to undertake civic construction work and not planting of saplings. The Upa Lokayukta learnt this during an inquiry meeting with BDA officials recently.
The BDA had claimed that 26 lakh saplings were planted across Bangalore at an expense of Rs 38 crore.
Upa Lokayukta Subhash B Adi has issued a notice to BDA saying, "Such a huge number of plantation (if they existed) would have covered whole of Bangalore and made Bangalore complete green."
The notice order follows an RTI-based expose by TOI in a report 'Trust BDA, namma Bangalore looks like the Western Ghats' published on September 6, 2014. The report revealed how BDA made tall claims about planting and maintaining several lakhs of saplings along roadsides, layouts, lake beds and places across the city.
Pertaining to Nirmiti Kendra, the notice said, "The kendra is incompetent to handle plantations of several lakhs of plants." Even the website of the Kendra says it takes up construction of buildings from government and private sectors to show the efficacy of the cost effective technologies. Nowhere does the website claim that they have expertise on planting saplings.
Widening the investigation into the saplings scam, Adi has issued notices to the forest department, Bangalore Urban deputy commissioner, BBMP, zilla panchayats of Bangalore Urban and Rural districts and Nirmiti Kendra. He has asked them to come with documents on saplings/plantation programmes undertaken from 2009-10 to 2012-13. "It is appropriate to find out details of plantations done by various departments in the said period in Bangalore region," the notice stated.
The Upa Lokayukta has asked the departments to %submit the reports by November 17.