In a rare move to prevent theft of trees from the Kamatibaug garden in the city,the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has imposed a fine of Rs 9.8 lakh on its security agency. The order,passed on Monday,held Shiva Industrial Security Agency (SISA),the official contractor of the corporation,responsible for the security of the garden and the theft of a sandalwood tree worth Rs 8 lakh on July 11.
SISA provides security for the various VMC installations across the city. It is also responsible for guarding the Kamatibaug garden that has witnessed regular thefts of valuable trees from its grounds.
On July 11,a sandalwood tree was stolen after it was felled with an electronic tree cutter. However,the security guard had said he did not see anyone stealing the tree. The VMC,which had registered a complaint with the Sayajigunj police station,had conducted its internal inquiry and decided to slap a fine of Rs 9,80,000 on the agency as a compensation for the loss incurred by the theft of the 80-year-old tree.
V R Chikhalia,director of gardens and parks at the VMC,says,We have decided to slap the fine on the agency so that they remain alert. The amount will be deducted from their contract reimbursement next month. The VMC,however,did not explain how such a hefty fine was calculated .
Sources in the VMC say the agency opposed this decision and is reluctant to pay the fine. The agencys spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.The action was welcomed by activists fighting for the protection of Kamatibaug.