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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