Bengaluru Tree poisoning: BBMP revenue officials fail to appear before Lokayukta

The court has directed BBMP forest officials to keep a regular check on such incidents.
Bengaluru Tree poisoning: BBMP revenue officials fail to appear before Lokayukta
Bengaluru Tree poisoning: BBMP revenue officials fail to appear before Lokayukta
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Remember the trees that were poisoned and later pruned so a brand hoarding could get better visibility on Outer Ring Road near Marathahalli? The revenue officials, who had initially failed to take action against the advertiser and are now in soup for that, have failed to appear before the Lokayukta for the case hearing.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s revenue officials and senior officials in the secretariat, failed to appear before the anti-corruption court on Thursday. Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanath Shetty has now issued a fresh notice to the officials to appear during the next hearing.

An activist named Saidatta had filed a complaint on March 6 with the Lokayukta stating that revenue officials of the BBMP had colluded with the advertisers who had poisoned the trees.

During the hearing, Assistant Conservator of Forests (North sub-division) N Shanta Kumar and two Deputy Range Forest Officers were present. However, the revenue officials who were responsible for issuing advertisement licenses remained absent, the Deccan Herald reported.

Justice Vishwanath Shetty had directed the revenue and also senior officials at the Urban Development Department and the City Police Commissioner to ensure that the responsible officers be present before the Lokayukta for the hearing.

“No one is present. No doubt that forest wing of BBMP has a greater responsibility to protect the tree growth. However, that does not mean that when an offence of theft or mischief is committed with regard to valuable tree growth and valuable state asset is being destroyed, the police can be silent spectators. The police have a duty to protect and prevent the commission of offence and register a case against the culprits,” Justice Shetty was quoted by DH.

The anti-corruption court has now directed Palike’s forest wing officials to go around the city and keep a regular watch with regard to the tree growth in the city. It has directed them to take legal steps to prosecute the culprits if any unnatural destruction is seen.

Saidatta’s complaint had stated that 17 trees were poisoned by injecting acid near Marathahalli ORR. Similarly, more than 15 trees were injected with acid and later pruned near Mahadevapura police station.

The Lokayukta has issued a fresh notice to additional chief secretary of the Urban Development Department, BBMP commissioner, BDA commissioner and police commissioner to submit a report by April 26, 2017.

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