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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011-International Year of Forests Celebrations Launched



Sh.Tejendra Khanna, Lt. Governor, Delhi launched the “2011 International Year of Forests celebration” by planting a sapling at Sanjay Van (near Neela Hauz) at about 10.30 AM on 19.10.2011.  Sh.G.S.Patnaik, Vice Chairman, DDA, Sh.Ashok Khurana, Engineer Member, DDA who were present besides the volunteers of ‘Working With Nature’, an NGO and schoolm children in large numbers also planted saplings.   Working With Nature in association with DDA had organized the celebrations.


Speaking on the occasion Sh.Tejendra Khanna, Lt. Governor, Delhi appreciated the efforts of AVM Vinod Rawat (Retd.), Prof. P.S.Ramakrishnan, and  Dr.Surya Prakash of WWN for taking up the restoration work in Sanjay Van. He said that all citizens should make concerted efforts to preserve ecological and bio-cultural heritage. He further explained the problem of weeds and how it degrades the growing plants. He advised the school children present on the occasion to avoid habits which like the weeds-stunt their growth and development in life. He also visited the highest vantage point which organizers later referred as the Tejendra Point.

This site is at a vantage point from where one can enjoy the scenic beauty of Sanjay Van, observe its flora, fauna and even spot Qutab Minar and ruins of Prithivi Raj Chauhan era etc. Massive tree plantation by school children and locals, tree talks, bird watching etc. will also be organized.
           
As per direction of His Excellency Sh.Tejendra Khanna, Hon’ble Lt. Governor, Delhi, WWN under its founder Air Vice Marshal (Retd.)Vinod Rawat is working with DDA to restore Sanjay Van by adopting scientific approach.  This will help in restoring the ancient ridge forest and stop its further degradation.  A team of WWN volunteers along with Prof. P.S.Ramakrishnan, a renowned ecologist; Dr.Surya Prakash, avid bird watcher, Prof. K.S.Rao, an ecologist from Delhi University and nature lovers from local area are making concerted efforts to restore the forest.
           
Delhi Development Authority in association with ‘Working With Nature’, an NGO has taken up the restoration of Sanjay Van with the following objectives:
1.         To restore Sanjay Van and replicate its restoration model to other ridges of Delhi.
2.         To work towards making a bird sanctuary for Delhi at Sanjay Van.
3.         To educate school children on awareness towards environment and connecting them to nature.

            Sanjay Van is spread over an area of 783 acres and was carved out by DDA to conserve and develop it into a green forest and its restoration is crucial in maintaining the ecological balance of South Delhi.  To restore and conserve native Aravali vegetation, a continuous process around 40000 native trees have been grown.  This includes species like Dhak “Flame of the forest” (Butea monosperma), Khain (Acacia catechu), Khejri (Prosopis cineraria) etc. Trees such as Hingot (Balanites roxburghii), Ronjh (acacia leucophloea), Siris (Albezia leback) etc. and indigenous species like neem, Kala siris etc. have been raised through seeds, nurturing/transplanting germinated saplings.  Other bird friendly species like Semal, Fig, Kadamb, Jamun, Imli, Peepul, Banyan etc have also been planted.  Ber (Zizyphus sp.) bushes which once flourished in this area have also been revived after many years through better rain water management.

            The spread of Vilaiti Keekar (Prosopis juliflora) has also been controlled to a great extent by eradicating its seed pods, uprooting young saplings etc.  Water harvesting structure and cleaning of discharge sewage water/effluents is being planned on priority.  Apart from recharging underground water it will also help restoration of natural biodiversity and arrest erosion of soil.

            Number of steps has been initiated to make a bird sanctuary at Sanjay Van mainly by selective planting of Fauna friendly vegetation, cleaning of discharged sewerage water/effluents from ponds, appropriate vegetation all around water body and introduction of bird friendly fishes in ponds.

            To educate school children on awareness towards environment, the students were taken to Sanjay Van at regular intervals for jungle trails, bird watching, planting trees, removing plastics etc. 
  
During the celebration a site is being developed at a vantage point from where one can enjoy the scenic beauty of Sanjay Van, observe its flora, fauna and even spot Qutab Minar and ruins of Prithivi Raj Chauhan era etc. massive tree plantation by school children and locals, tree talks, bird watching etc. will be organized.

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