Bengaluru: Horticulture department hiding facts, says activist

Department skips questions on security guards, while replying to RTI query on Cubbon Park.

Bengaluru: In one of the bizarre cases, the Horticulture department is unaware of the identities of the security personnel working on Cubbon Park premises, although it knows there are 68 men on the job!

In a reply to an RTI query on the maintenance and development of Cubbon Park, the Horticulture department, which has replied that 68 men are monitoring security at the city’s iconic park, has left out questions seeking information about these men. Even more strangely, the department has gone ahead to say that 56 workers are maintaining cleanliness at the park, even as it fails to furnish details about these workers.

The complainant, S.Umesh, alleges various irregularities have come to light with the RTI replies.

“There is no match between the number of people working at Cubbon Park and the number claimed by the Horticulture department. At any given time, there are not more than 6 male and female workers at the park, while the department claims 56 are at work. In the past few months there have been many cases of security lapses though the Horticulture department claims 68 men are maintaining security. Then how did the sandalwood tree theft and ‘attempt to rape’ incidents take place?” Mr Umesh, also the president of Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association, questioned.

Further, he stressed that the RTI reply was a blatant lie as it has furnished inaccurate replies to questions on illegal constructions and the number of events taking place within the park premises. “Several buildings like the YMCA, Yavanika, Konark hotel have come up in violation of The Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act, 1975, but the department, in its reply, has maintained that these buildings are not illegal. The Act was not amended to accommodate these constructions. Then why is the Horticulture department trying to protect them?” he questioned.

He also added that at a time when nearly 15-20 events (all private) were taking place on the park premises every month, the department maintained that only 8 events were being held. Mr Umesh alleged that the department was also fooling the state government, apart from the common man.

“We have not seen any development works despite the government allotting Rs 1.5 crore to build two gates for the park. The RTI reply has no reference to these funds. The entire reply is a sham,” he said.

Among various other complaints, he alleged that the RTI reply, which he received through a post, was by itself a scam. He alleged, “I was asked to pay '184 for a 92-page reply but I only received 45 pages. The irregularities within the department start with the number of pages that have been posted to me. Despite collecting more money for a long reply post, the department has filtered the information, deliberately trying to hide controversial replies.”

Mr Umesh, who has filed a complaint with the Lokayukta regarding the irregularities in Horticulture department, said that he will file a public interest litigation petition with the High Court.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story