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Tree census exposes tussle between depts

Forest dept refused to take up census, said it’s BBMP’s job as most trees fall in its jurisdiction
 

Published: 24th October 2019 06:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th October 2019 06:51 AM   |  A+A-

A worker measures the growth   of a tree trunk for the census | Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The upcoming tree census to be undertaken by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has exposed a tussle between the BBMP forest cell and its parent Karnataka Forest Department. 
The forest department refused to undertake the census for the BBMP stating that it is the job of the BBMP forest cell.

The two departments had three rounds of meetings, where the BBMP forest cell requested the forest department to carry out the census as the trees are a part of the environment. But the latter refused and reasoned that the trees fall under the BBMP jurisdiction and so the palike should do the exercise. 
The tree authority of the BBMP forest cell is presently the chief conservator of forest of the forest department. The tree authority is said to have issued orders to the BBMP forest cell to take up the exercise, sources told TNIE. 

“It is this tussle that has delayed the exercise. The BBMP forest cell functions under the BBMP administration, but its parent department is the forest department. This confusion has made matters worse. Despite this, there is no staff with the BBMP forest cell to undertake any work,” the source said.
After being pulled up by the Karnataka High Court, the BBMP signed an MoU with Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST) to carry out the tree census at a cost of Rs 4.32 crore for three years. In the first year, IWST will do the census and give a report. In the subsequent years, the IWST will give a report card on the condition of the trees in the city. 

According to the BBMP forest cell, there are around 35 lakh trees only in the city. This means there is just one tree for 10-12 people. 

Reacting to this, R Gokul, CCF, Forest Department, Bengaluru Urban, and Tree Authority said he acted as per Section 27 of the Forest Act to issue directions to the tree officer (who is the Deputy Conservator of Forests, BBMP Forest Cell) to do the census. Besides, the Tree Authority is an appellate authority who has no executive and financial powers to undertake the census. 



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