BBMP forest cell short of manpower

Bengaluru: The city is fast losing its green cover as the lackadaisical, uninterested state government has failed to strengthen the BBMP forest cell with required funds and staff.

The state government has released only Rs 3 crore when the city needs Rs 8 crore for maintaining its green cover, a BBMP source said. 

Tree doctor Vijay Nishanth said it is unfortunate that the city, despite being home to institutes and activists, is losing its green cover. 

“The basic need is the staff. When we don’t have enough staff, how can the Palike take care of the city? Every second day, a tree is either chopped or poisoned, and there is no accountability,” he said. 

The forest cell now runs with eight zonal officers, one deputy conservator of forest (DCF), two assistant conservators of forest (ACFs), one for the North Division and the other for the South, and 10 deputy range forest officers (DRFO). But the city needs 28 DRFOs, one for each Assembly constituency, Mr Nishanth said. 

“The tree census has been delayed for long because of lack of manpower. We spend time pruning, removing cut-down trees and giving permission to cut trees. A big city like Bengaluru cannot be taken care of like this,” a senior forest official said. 

The BBMP works under immense pressure and it is humanly impossible to take care of the basic needs of the city with such anaemic staff. “Each of the 28 DRFOs should have a tree pruning team under them. Only then things will improve,” he said.

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