Bengaluru

HC pulls up government and BBMP for failing to start tree census by November 10

On October 10, the BBMP had promised to begin the tree census within a month.

On October 10, the BBMP had promised to begin the tree census within a month.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

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Civic body says government is yet to give permission to appoint IWST to conduct census without inviting tender

Pulling up the State government and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for failing to start tree census in the city despite a series of directions since June this year, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday cautioned that action under the Contempt of Courts Act would be initiated against officials concerned if the tree census is not commenced in two weeks.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur issued the directions after the BBMP counsel informed that census could not be started within a month, as was assured on October 10, as the government is yet to grant permission to engage the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST) without inviting tender for conducting the census.

“The conduct of all the authorities show that they have no intention of implementing provisions of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees (KPT) Act, 1976 and are least bothered to follow the orders passed by the court,” the bench observed while warning that contempt of court proceedings would be initiated if the tree census, which is a mandatory obligation under the KPT Act, is not commenced in two weeks. The bench reiterated its earlier observations that from past 43 years, the State and BBMP have failed in performing their statutory duty of conducting a tree census.

The BBMP wants exemption from the government on application of Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 1999 to directly engage the IWST, a wing of the central government’s Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, without inviting tenders to select an agency to conduct the census.

Pointing out that the committee of experts, appointed by the government on the direction of the court, for Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts to consider the applications seeking permission to fell trees has not submitted to the court the procedure it wants to adopt for its functioning, the bench said that if some members of the committee are not interest in continuing they can say so in their report to the court besides explaining why the committee, constituted on August 1, is taking a long time to frame procedures.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 4:46:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/hc-pulls-up-government-and-bbmp-for-failing-to-start-tree-census-by-november-10/article29964799.ece

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