Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bonsai grouse in Lalbagh

Bonsai grouse in Lalbagh
Famous Bonsai expert Srinivas alleges the Horticulture department is not maintaining properly the Bonsai Park in Lalbagh, to which he donated 453 of his bonsai plants

The Horticulture department’s maintenance of the Bonsai Park in Lalbagh has drawn sharp criticism from renowned Bonsai expert S Srinivas, who gifted his collection of 453 bonsai plants in 2003, to get the park started.
Bonsai Srinivas, as he’s popularly known, donated the plants to the department on the following conditions: A separate garden should be set up for the plants and it should be named after his parents, he should be given a monthly honorarium, an institute should be set up to impart knowledge about bonsais, and he should be made the chief advisor to the department. The department agreed to his conditions and things were all fine until problems cropped up in 2006 when Srinivas returned from his threemonth US trip.
Srinivas now alleges that the department has harassed and humiliated him despite his valuable contribution. He says, “I have appealed to officials many times in the past. I was made to run from pillar to post. Despite assurances by ministers and senior bureaucrats, nothing has been done. The only mistake was to wait patiently all these days hoping to get their attention. My patience is coming to an end after waiting for seven long years. I will go before the public in the interest of the state through media.”
After Srinivas wrote to the Lok Ayukta seeking justice, Upa Lok Ayukta Patri Basavanagoud inspected the park and directed the department to submit a detailed report about the project. The department has submitted its report and the order is awaited.
Senior officials in the Horticulture department maintain no injustice has been done to Srinivas. A senior official on the condition of anonymity says, “Though the department could not fulfil all his conditions, it has done whatever it could within its rights. He was paid a monthly honorarium of Rs 15,000. After returning from the US, Srinivas was determined to claim honorarium even during his absence period. Further, he demanded a designation and facilities on par with the director. We do not have powers to fulfil these demands.”
Sources in the department told Bangalore Mirror that Srinivas is still a chief advisor and officials are open to his suggestions. The department had also constructed a Pagoda Gate and displayed a board bearing the name of his parents. The board was removed as the construction work was undertaken and would be replaced once the work is completed, the sources clarified. They allege, Srinivas himself stopped coming to the office and stopped giving suggestions. “Utilising the services of the department’s experts, who have doctorates, we increased the number of plants to 1,250 from the original 453. He pressed for signing a memorandum of understanding in maintaining the park. These rights are with the government,” the sources add.
Bonsai is a Japanese art of rearing trees and plants in small containers.The art, including aesthetic pruning of plants in various shapes that are later grown permanently in a small size, dates back to China. Chinese called the art as Penzai and the same was pronounced as Bonsai in Japan.


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