Friday, June 3, 2011 – (The Times Of India, New Delhi)
Gurgaon: It will be a year on world Environment Day since the inception of the bio-diversity park in the Aravalli hills near Nathupar village on Delhi-Gurgaon border.
The ambitious project spared across 576 acres is facing an acute shortage of water and most planted trees have wilted in the heat. Officials have left the saplings to the mercy of intermittent showers, which are insufficient for their survival.
There is a single caretaker to man, water plants and maintain this vast expanse stretching between Mehrauli Gurgaon Toad on one end and Dunda Hera on national highway on the other.
The only visible activity in this area is the construction work being varied out for cycle and jogger’s track and an amphitheatre in the distance.
The estimated cost of the constructing the 4-km long cycle track is over Rs 97 lakh while the 3.5-km jogger’s track is Rs 94 lakh. Another Rs 42 lakh is the total cost as on date to be spent on building the 500 seater amphitheatres.
However, environmentalists question the penetration of these constructions as it will only lead to scaring the fauna away since the green cover is practically non-existent. “People bring in their pets for a walk which is a disturbance for birds that had made the area their home. Also, it is more important to make provisions for water holes for the neelgai and some species of birds which live here than making an amphitheatre,” said Vivek Khamboj, founder of Haryali, an NCR based NGO.
When contacted, Latika Thukral founder of NGO, I am Gurgaon, and who is closely associated with the multi-crore project said: “It is a perception and we can do just this much at one time.” Also, a separate Gurgaon Bio-diversity park Management Society formed under the former municipal commissioner is now defunct with no meetings being held to review the extent of work.The executive committee will constitute of 13 core members with the MCG commissioner as its chairperson and the deputy commissioner as the vice president. The conservator of forests, south circle, will hold the post of member secretary. The society will also have the HUDA, RWAs, corporate and NGOs as members.
The main purpose of the executive committee was to look after the flora and fauna in the bio-diversity park. Other than these, the society will also plan the green belts and parks/gardens across the city. “None has been done so far,” confirmed a senior forest official.
Of the 7,500 saplings planted in the area, less than one third is in good condition. However, officials are optimistic that with the first rains, the area will have a greener cover:
“There is some disturbance in the area with the ongoing civil works. However, with the onset of monsoon, the condition will be better,” said an official with the Haryana Forest Development Corporation (HFDC), which is responsible for the planting of saplings.