Bengaluru

BBMP to renegotiate MoU terms with institute for tree census

Pramodadevi Wadiyar of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family inaugurating the tree census in Mysuru by measuring the girth of a tree on Sunday.

Pramodadevi Wadiyar of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family inaugurating the tree census in Mysuru by measuring the girth of a tree on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

HC has asked civic body to enumerate trees on pvt. land too

The tree census in the city that was set to begin three months ago is yet to take off even though the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Institute of Wood Science and Technology for the exercise.

The MoU states that only trees in public spaces will be enumerated. The High Court, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition on the subject, had taken objection to this and directed the BBMP to also enumerate trees on private land. The next hearing is scheduled for February 11.

Complying with the High Court directive, the BBMP has now written to the institute seeking to renegotiate the MoU to include enumeration of all trees in the city.

BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar said there were practical difficulties in enumerating trees on private land. “Most of the apartment complexes and the owners of private land do not allow enumerators in. We are exploring whether we can get citizens to self-declare the trees on their land through a mobile app,” he said.

The Commissioner said that Chapter IV of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, which lists out duties of the Tree Authority, states, “Carrying out a census of the existing trees and obtaining, whenever considered necessary, declarations from all owners or occupants about the number of trees in their land”.

Tree conservation activists, however, have argued that this is not feasible. “During a tree census, details such as a photo of the tree, its species, height and girth, and the health of the tree have to be docked into an app, which requires technical knowledge and the common man cannot do it,” said tree conservationist Vijay Nishant, who spearheads a private tree census initiative, Vruksha.

Private individuals will have to let government representatives in to enumerate trees just like they cooperate with the population census.

Mr. Nishant said the civic body and the institute should ideally carry out a pilot project in one of the wards in the city to understand the various issues that may crop up, device standard protocols and scale it up across the city.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:49:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bbmp-to-renegotiate-mou-terms-with-institute-for-tree-census/article30773142.ece

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