Bengaluru: BBMP’s exorbitant sapling tenders draw ire of greens | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Environmentalists are unhappy with BBMP floating exorbitant tenders worth crores of rupees for planting and maintaining saplings across the city.
Responding to a TOI report — Tenders floated for 62k saplings, BBMP ready to pay Rs 930 for each — published on Friday, citizens and environmentalists said the civic body doesn’t have a planned approach to address the issue of increasing the city’s tree cover. On World Environment Day, the Palike launched Koti Vruska Sainya programme, which envisages planting 1 crore saplings in the city in three years and declared that it will ensure the plants survive.
Harish Gowda, an environmentalist, alleged BBMP failed to maintain the existing saplings and protect tree guards. “The civic body can neither maintain the existing trees, nor tree guards. Why float tenders to raise new saplings and install tree guards?” wondered Gowda.
“A sapling can be planted and grown for just Rs 200. The Palike’s inflated estimate of Rs 930 per sapling camouflages vested interests at work,” he alleged.
In areas like Indiranagar, Vidhana Soudha, Sanjaynagar and parts of Dollars Colony where there is VIP movement, the civic body makes an effort to plant saplings and guard them, while in remaining parts of the city the saplings are allowed to die, said another senior environmentalist. “Winter isn’t the right season to plant saplings as survival chances are little,” said Akshay Heblikar, director of Eco-watch. Heblikar suggested it would be better if the civic body initiates the same project in March or April, after which monsoon would nourish the saplings.
Heblikar added that lack of coordination between civic agencies affects the growth of saplings. “Every time there is road cutting or other construction work, debris is dumped on the saplings, which then eventually die,” he said. Involving NGOs, government institutions and schools in afforestation drives would have been a better idea, he said.
Dattatraya T Devare, another environmentalist, said more than planting saplings, ensuring their survival is important. “BBMP does not have the mechanism to monitor a plantation drive, as a result of which saplings end up being planted at the same spot every year and the whole thing is reduced to a joke,” Devare said. “BBMP is using bamboo guards, but they won’t survive. It needs to use iron tree guards to ensure the saplings survive,” he said.
Shankar Reddy Babu, special commissioner (estates, forest, education), BBMP, was unavailable for comments.

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Sagar Biswas

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