24 lakh trees, 85 gardens: but only 2 garden inspectors for vigil!

Bhadrawati Garden planted in warm sunshineNagpur: It would not be wrong to say that NMC has a ‘magic wand’ to run its comprehensive civic shows (duties) in which it can easily take care of 24 lakh trees and 85 gardens with the help of its only 2 dedicated (or may be clairvoyant) garden inspectors. Thanks to NMC’s management with minimum or even negligible human resource, particularly when it is running through financial crisis, yet it has taken up a responsibility of massive tree-plantation in the city. Surprisingly, despite such a massive work, it will again be active during ensuing elections, for which merely a year is left.

According to sources, there are said to be 24 lakh trees in the city and 85 gardens (big and small) as per census of year 2011. As claimed by Ruling party in the NMC, there were 1.25 lakh trees planted in the regime of Mayor Anil Sole, whose audit has not been conducted so far. It is difficult to guess how 2 garden inspectors must be maintaining vigil on so many trees. They are also responsible for taking care of tree-felling, permission sought for tree-felling, and also disposal of RTI matters.

The Ruling party claims of planting lakhs of trees every year, but it is difficult to know where the trees go. It sounds like a white lie. The Ruling party also claims that it gets tree-plantation done through voluntary organizations and take care of them for years. But, the reality is quite different. Neither the NMC nor voluntary organizations have any ‘plant caring system’, nor water management system for planted trees. As on this date, only one contractor has been employed to water the plants in dividers, and also trees, and he uses water from some nullah for the sake of watering the plants with the help of water-tankers while each plant according to its specification should be watered with different types of water. Yet, the present contractor collects lakhs of rupees for his work from garden department.

Zero planning
Mumbai municipal corporation has less number of trees than NMC has, yet there are 150 garden inspectors to take care of work while NMC has only 2 garden inspector for look after 25 lakh trees and 85 gardens. Surprising! Is it not an eye wash?

There being a complete mess of functioning in the department of garden/ horticulture, the NMC commissioner may not have been made aware of clear cut picture of the departmental activities and current position. Yet, if the NMC commissioner approved the departmental activities of horticulture for new transplantation of trees, as proposed by the Ruling party, it would amount to mockery of environmental accountability.

Landscaping in respect of only 7.5 lakh out of 24 lakh trees has been done, but such trees are either drying or falling because of their grown up age and huge size.

Once upon a time, sandal wood trees were also planted by garden department, but where they have disappeared, only garden department must be knowing it well.

The garden department has become very arrogant these days. As it is crowded with contractors and dalals, the garden staff does not attend to or respond to any query made by citizens, and they thus feel humiliated.

Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha (rajeev.nagpurtoday@gmail.com)