But here’s the question - did BBMP ignore the poisoning of trees for 2 months?

Congratulations Bengaluru Illegal hoarding for which trees were poisoned brought down
news Environment Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:41

 

Weeks after 27 trees were poisoned or hacked to ensure visibility for two hoardings in Bengaluru, finally, there’s action.

One of the two hoardings put up by Nail Enterprises Pvt Ltd, advertising Bhima jewellery, was pulled down by the BBMP on Friday. The other hoarding, for iPhone 7, will also be brought down soon, officials said.

 

“There are high tension electric wires near the hoarding and we have requested the Karnataka Electricity Board to shut down the power supply for half an hour sometime during the day, after which the hoarding will be brought down. It is dangerous for workers to go up when the power is on,” said Thimmappa, the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Mahadevapura zone.

The action came thanks to one man - tree doctor Vijay Nishanth - who noticed the wilted trees as he passed through the Outer Ring Road area on March 2. Nishanth immediately informed the BBMP officials, and as they started investigating the crime, the tree doctor started doing his job.

“We removed all the acid and have applied liquid bandage to the trees. Of the 17 poisoned trees, only three can be saved now. After seven days of care, leaves are growing on one tree,” Nishanth said.

The on-ground action came after investigation revealed that Nail Enterprises, which is located in Frazer Town, had put up the hoardings illegally.

“The revenue department had sent the company a penalty bill amounting to Rs 17,85,210. This was for January to June 2016. However, there has been no record of a follow up on this by the revenue department,” Thimmappa said.

This is not the first time that Nail Enterprises has been in trouble for putting up an illegal hoarding. Officials told TNM that on January 24, the BBMP had brought down an illegal iPhone 6S hoarding put up by the same company.

“This iPhone 7 ad cropped up soon after. We have now issued notices to the advertising company, and also the Archbishop House, where the iPhone ad was put up. The house owner, on whose building the Bhima hoarding has been erected, has also been issued a notice,” said Anbegowda, the Revenue Officer incharge of hoardings along the stretch.

“An FIR has been filed against Nail Enterprises under Section 8 of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act,” he added.

Did Bengaluru officials ignore murder of trees for two months?

But while the city’s officials finally swing into action, there are allegations that they ignored the poisoning of the trees for at least two months.

Shivanna, a tea vendor in the area, says the trees were being poisoned since mid-January.

“I set up this stall two years ago, and every morning, I open it at 6am. One day in January, when I was opening my stall, I noticed fumes around the trees. That day, I called up the BBMP authorities and informed them of the issue. I did not know what it was but it looked like something that could harm the trees,” Shivanna said.

But despite his call, the BBMP authorities did not show up that day. The next day, Shivanna says, he witnessed the fumes around the trees once again.

“I told some shopkeepers here to inform the BBMP persons. But even after repeated complaints, they did not do anything. If they had come and inspected the spot in January itself, may be all the 17 trees would have survived. I kept watering the plants because I thought it would save them,” Shivanna said.

Considering it was only on March 2 that the BBMP decided to act - after tree doctor Vijay Nishanth noticed the wilted trees and informed the officials - only three of the 17 poisoned trees can be saved now.

Vijay Nishanth treating one of the affected trees

Shivanna has now taken up the task of watering the trees twice a day. “I have become vigilant now. I keep a look out for miscreants after this incident,” he said.

 

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