MIFFED AT the condition of the City’s gardens, Mayor Uma Shashi Sharma on Sunday summoned the entire contingent of Horticulture Department employees to justify salaries being paid to them.
More than 400 employees, including Garden Officer A U Khan, lined up at the IMC headquarters this morning before the Mayor who grilled them about their hours of duty and daily routine.
The Mayor made it clear that the staff would have to put in their full quota of work and at the assigned place if they expected to receive wages. She further suggested that instead of deploying one or two gardeners at a particular site the zone office should put in place a gang of 10-12 gardeners exclusively at one garden for a fixed period.
Once through, they could be rotated to other parks within the zone eventually returning to the garden with which they started.
The debriefing came after complaints that the Corporation’s maalis (gardeners) spent their duty hours tending to the lawns of senior officials rather than maintaining the City’s green spaces.
Matters came to a head three days ago when the Mayor, during a garlanding ceremony of the statues of the two leaders, saw first-hand the pitiable condition of the green islands that host the stone figures of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel.
She immediately directed Municipal Commissioner Vinod Sharma to issue a show cause notice to Khan seeking to know why the gardens were not properly maintained.
Meanwhile, replying to the notice, Khan disclaimed any responsibility for the charges levelled against him. “At the time of the Ganesh Shankar incident I was in Bhopal celebrating Id with my family,” declared the official in a missive to the Commissioner.
He also denied that the Mayor was made to wait at the gate guarding Patel’s statue, declaring that by the time Sharma arrived at the site the padlock had already been broken.