The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) ambitious plan to green the city by planting five lakh saplings is in danger of wilting.
The Vana Mahotsav programme was launched with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa planting a sapling at the proposed Tree Park in Domlur on Tuesday amid proclamations that the BBMP would plant one lakh saplings that day.
However, it now emerges that only 10,000 saplings were planted, including the 350 at the Tree Park.
Passing the buck
A civic authority source said the Forest Department has been entrusted with the greening task, with the BBMP's Horticulture Department assisting planting saplings in parks.
“The Horticulture Department has limited purview. Almost 90 per cent of the plan has to be implemented by the Forest Department,” sources said.
Moreover, the source said, the department had failed to involve the 198 councillors. The BBMP could have met the one lakh target on a single day if 500 saplings had been planted in each ward. “This was possible had all the councillors been involved,” the source said.
Shanthakumar, Conservator of Forests, BBMP, told The Hindu the department had shortlisted 10 tree species to be planted across the city, including mahogany, jackfruit, neem, jamoon, honge and flowering varieties such as nagasampige.
Conceding that only 10,000 saplings had been planted so far, he claimed that from June till now, around 2.5 lakh saplings had been planted. “We will complete planting the one lakh saplings in about 15 days. We will plant canopy trees in open spaces and hardy species such as ficus along the roads,” he said.
In a frank admission, Mayor S.K. Nataraj agreed the Vana Mahotsav programme was going slow. It was postponed as the Chief Minister was not available to launch it earlier. The officials should have strategised it better, he said, adding he would ask them to expedite the programme.