BBMP to restart tree-planting drive

After a hiatus of two years, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike will restart its tree plantation drive this year.

However, this time around, it will not distribute free saplings to citizens.

The civic body is all set to call for tenders to plant and raise 2.5 lakh tree saplings and maintain them for three years.

This will be the first time that the civic body will include clauses in the contract for maintaining tree saplings planted.

“The BBMP lacks the manpower to monitor these trees or even to oversee a city-wide tree warden programme. So the best way is to outsource maintenance for three years to those who plant them. This will also make the planters accountable for sapling survival rate, which has been low in most drives,” said Cholarajappa, DFO, BBMP.

Activists like Vinay Sreenivasa from Hasiru Usiru welcomed the move and the inclusion a maintenance clause as it will bring in more accountability into the system.

However, questions have been raised over the estimated costs of the drive. BBMP sources said the plantation drive with bamboo tree guards around all saplings and their maintenance for three years will cost ₹40 crore.

The funds will be earmarked in the upcoming city budget.

“Simple maths puts the cost of plantation and maintenance for three years at ₹1,600 per sapling. The BBMP needs to be transparent with the breakup of maintenance costs and defend it,” Vinay Sreenivasa said.

He added that the civic body must speed up the tender process as the saplings need to be planted before the onset of monsoons.

The civic body has come under criticism for the low survival rate of saplings and alleged corruption in its plantation drives, following which it had discontinued planting saplings two years ago.

In 2017, it started a plant sapling bank to distribute them to citizens free of charge, and launched the BBMP Green app. At the time, the bank had 10 lakh plant saplings

According to officials, though, the drive received a lukewarm response from citizens.

To date, it has given out nearly six lakh saplings, but has no details on where they were planted or whether they survived.

Sources from the BBMP said anecdotal evidence suggests that most of the people who took saplings for free planted them in farms outside the city, which defeated the purpose of the initiative.

The programme has now been disbanded and the remainder of over 3 lakh saplings in the civic body’s nurseries will be used during the plantation drive, DFO Cholarajappa said.

The drive will include compensatory plantation for trees cut for metro lines in the city, for which BMRCL has deposited money.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 1:55:22 AM |

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