Government nurseries are springing up in Lalbagh and Cubbon Park | Digireview

This comes in the background of the department that recently ended the land lease of Mysore Horticulture Society and The Nurserymen Cooperative Society

This comes in the background of the department that recently ended the land lease of Mysore Horticulture Society and The Nurserymen Cooperative Society

The Horticulture Department will soon set up its own nurseries in Lalbagh Botanical Garden and Cubbon Park on a no-profit, no-loss basis. According to senior horticultural officials, the nursery in Cubbon Park is already propagating some varieties and will soon open its doors to the public to purchase saplings.

“We are propagating a lot and we had not yet opened a nursery in these two places. That’s why we decided last year to grow the new varieties of exotic plants and ornamentals locally and spread the culture in the city so that people can buy them. We are not here to make a profit, but to promote the horticultural activities. The department plans to run it by a small margin to lead the operations,” Rajender Kumar Kataria, chief secretary of the horticultural department, told The Hindu.

This comes against the background of the fact that the department recently ended land leases from Mysore Horticulture Society (MHS) (70 cents) and The Nurserymen Cooperative Society (NCS) (1.65 acres) in Lalbagh. The move has sparked a lot of criticism for driving two of the oldest horticultural associations out of green space. However, the officials of the department said this was not a sudden decision and that there were many discussions.

“This is a thoughtful decision and has been discussed for years. These associations were founded with good intentions at the time because there were very few nurseries. But now there are hundreds of private nurseries and why should only a few have the privilege of to continue to operate a negligible amount on a government property?This decision has been made not to allow private entities on public land,” said Mr. Kataria.

He added that it was discovered that the associations were charging higher rates than other nurseries and had also taken 4G waivers under the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements (KTPP) Act for which they were ineligible. He also said there was confusion among the public that these associations were run by the government. “I have also ordered our officials to get back the money they collected on government land.”

Another official said that while the NCS’s lease ended in 2020, the MHS’s recent £25,000 lease, which was extended in 2016, was also terminated in 2021. The MHS is also shocked by the decision according to its members.

“If there were any issues, why didn’t they message us and try to resolve it with us? We have always maintained transparency in all our activities, including revenue sharing during the flower shows. The director of the Horticulture Department has always been our chairman and if they say there is abuse, why couldn’t the director report it to us and ask for an explanation? Marigowda had started these associations with clear intentions and we are carrying them out. Why do they want us to stop?” asked a member of MHS who is also on the board of directors.

He further said that they had escalated the matter to Uday Garudachar, MLA, who had assured that he would discuss the matter with the Horticulture Minister and also the Chief Minister.

MHS is no longer part of the annual flower show

Horticulture department officials said Mysore Horticulture Society (MHS) will no longer be included in the organization of the annual flower shows, as the funds released for this purpose were allegedly misused by the association. They also said that despite the department officers taking on most of the work for the shows, the credits went to the MHS. The MHS members also denied these allegations, saying that they worked tirelessly for the shows all year and that the revenue sharing was carried out on the basis of previously agreed terms.

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