The horticulture wing of the Ludhiana municipal corporation (MC) has once again come under the scanner as it claimed that since its inception in 1978 it has auctioned only 152 trees that come within the limits of the corporation.
While there are 812 parks in different areas of the city, the total number of trees is unknown as the officials of horticulture wing have not marked the number of trees that helps in identifying and keeping their record.
The Hindustan Times had earlier reported that there was no record of the trees, and in its absence the MC would not be able to know if a tree was axed or sold illegally.
However, an RTI reply by the horticulture wing has raised suspicion as the wing claimed that it has auctioned only 152 trees till now. The earning of the wing was `3.65 lakh from the sale of these trees at different times.
The application that was filed by city resident Ravi Sharma also asked the wing to provide information regarding the expenditure of the wing on different resources. However, the horticulture wing has failed to provide any information regarding this.
"Trees are planted in different areas of the city in different seasons as per requirement. These trees are taken care of by the employees of the horticulture wing," stated the reply.
There are thousands of trees in different parks of the city. As per information, there are 74 parks in Zone A, 201 in Zone B, 40 in Zone C and 497 in Zone D.
HT had raised the issue of a suspected scam in the horticulture wing as there was no record of total number of trees with the department.
As per official record, there are 316 gardeners with the civic body. Even with these 316 gardeners with the MC, the condition of most parks under the civic body is deplorable.
Executive engineer Surinder Kumar had earlier said there were only ornamental plants in the MC parks.
Interestingly, only one auction of trees took place last year despite the fact that several trees fell due to high-velocity winds and otherwise are axed.
There are at least 22 varieties of shrubs and trees planted by the MC in different areas as per the MC's official website.