City Forest near Biodiversity Park (TOI Article)

Article by Praveen Jose for the Times of India, July 11, 2015

GURGAON: The forest department may soon reserve a further 125 acres of corporation land near the 350-acre biodiversity park in Gurgaon as a city forest, after the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF & CC) wrote to the state government last month to identify city land of area between 50 and 300 hectares to serve as a green lung.

Once undertaken, this will be the second green lung project undertaken by the state government in Gurgaon. A meeting was held in Delhi on Friday between top officials of MoEF&CC and the state.

Till Friday, forest department officials were planning to convert the Aravali Biodiversity Park into an urban forest and park, but after a recent survey, they plumped for land opposite the biodiversity park.

According to the letter written by the state forest department principal secretary Amit Jha to the additional chief secretary of DTCP, P Raghavendra Rao on Tuesday (TOI has a copy) the original plan was to develop the 350-acre biodiversity park as the ‘ city forest’ .

But after the survey revealed that Aravali Biodiversity Park, once an abandoned mine off MG Road along the Delhi-Gurgaon border, is already well maintained by NGO IAmGurgaon, they went for the 125 acre tract nearby.

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Following the Friday meeting, Rao said, ” We discussed the ‘ city forest’ project and other pressing issues. This project is in addition to the existing plan to develop a 1,349 acre green buffer near the Northern Peripheral Road, where land acquisition is almost through in villages of Kakraula, Bhangraula, Wazirpur, Dhorka, among others. These projects will help keep a check over air quality, bring down pollution and rejuvenate the ecology.” He added, ” The NGO is doing great work at the biodiversity park and we don’ t plan to disturb them. That’ s why we chose the tract opposite the park across MG Road for the city forest scheme,” Rao told TOI.

The project envisages development of wooded tracts in at least 66% of the area, laying emphasis on locally appropriate species of trees, apart from landscaping features such as lawns, hedges, shrubs, climbers, topiaries, medicinal plants and seasonal flowering plants. It would also include walkways, cycle tracks and water harvesting units.