The allegations that trees are being felled indiscriminately by the “timber mafia” inside Cubbon Park have been rubbished by the Horticulture Department.
The allegation was levelled by S. Umesh, president of Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association. He alleged on Monday that a huge Nilgiri tree, at least 30 year old, was felled. He claimed that this was the handiwork of “timber mafia”. “Many precious trees, such as sandal and teak, have been felled. Before felling, the department should take permission of the Forest Department. These procedures are not followed,” he charged.
He also alleged that six months ago, two silver oak trees were felled. “The mafia first digs a pit near the tree, which eventually causes the tree to fall. The horticulture officials are hand-in-glove with the mafia,” he claimed.
Mahantesh Murugod, Deputy Director (Cubbon Park), rubbished the allegations. He said that the Nilgiri tree had fallen following heavy rainfall more than a month ago. “After we got to know about this, we got an estimate for clearing it from the Forest Department in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and even auctioned the tree. After the money was deposited by the highest bidder, we gave the receipt and permission to clear the tree.” He said that the department was open to any inquiry.