Manpower crisis in BBMP is making 'Garden city' just a memory

Long before 'silicon valley of India' tag was pinned on Bangalore, it was known for its gardens. Now, with the acute manpower crunch in the BBMP, the 1,153 parks under the palike are facing neglect and no new gardeners have been hired in the past two years

Long before Bangalore was ever dubbed as the 'silicon valley of India', it was more famously known as the 'Garden City'.

Today however, the 1,153 parks under Bangalore Palike have fallen prey to neglect, as gardeners and maintenance staff are in short supply. It now remains to be seen, how long these gardens will survive and if the city will ever be allowed to live up to its former name and glory.

The sad truth is that though hundreds of parks dot the city, the existing ones are gradually falling into ruin and the existing greenery is slipping into oblivion. As per figures from the BBMP, the palike has developed 841 parks in the city till date, while they are yet to begin with another 312 parks.

Also, to maintain these parks, the BBMP requires 419 additional gardeners. However, for the last two years recruitment for such jobs has come to a grinding halt.

"Currently, there are 415 workers and it is exasperating to see that despite the workforce suffering severe
shortage, no recruitment has been made in the past two years," an official from the municipal corporation

Always greener?
The official further added though Rs 320 crore has been allocated for development and maintenance of public parks, nothing has been done.

The city's two biggest parks are Cubbon Park and Lalbagh, which are spread over 200 acres of land. However, these two parks have been well maintained, as they fall under the purview of the State Horticulture Department, while the lesser-known smaller parks are under the care of BBMP.

When this reporter questioned BBMP Chairman (Horticulture) R Anjanappa, he blamed shortage of fund allocation for the manpower shortage issue.

"There are allocations of funds for maintenance of parks, but we are not getting enough funds to hire new people," he said. However, with no funds being given out for maintenance, the BBMP Horticulture department has decided against introducing any new parks.

Work cut out
"We will first focus on maintenance of the existing parks in the city, before taking up work on new parks," Anjanappa added. Meanwhile, when it was pointed out that city parks were not living up to the expectations of the general public, he said, "Just give me one month and we will devise a plan to improve all parks."

The fund shortage is such that in some instances many of the private contractors have not been paid for months together, but city experts continue to question the efficacy of putting the blame on fund shortage.

"It is nothing, but a clear case of mismanagement by the BBMP once again. Is BBMP efficiently using the allocated funds and the manpower it has, to its full extent?" sad R K Misra, member of Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure and Development Task Force.

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