The Delhi Development Authority has prepared an action plan to develop a biodiversity park at Tughlakabad. This would be the third such park in South Delhi after the ones in Aravalli and Tilpat Valley. A formal approval for the project was given during a recent meeting under the chairmanship of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. Scientist CR Babu, of Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems and assists DDA in biodiversity projects, is given the task of developing the park.
Two sites —130 acre of DDA land close to Kalkaji Extension and 200 acre of land near Tughlakabad fort and lake — will be utilised for the park. A DDA official said, “These sites are currently categorised as district parks under recreational land use as per the Delhi Master Plan. Tughlakabad lake — an artificial water body which has been polluted by industrial waste — along with about 200 acre of surrounding land behind Tughlakabad Fort will be part of the project as well.”
The park will play a significant role in the conservation of the capital’s environment. It will help in cutting down carbon dioxide and other gases, act as dust trap, recharge groundwater and promote cloud formation and local precipitation.
In 2015, Delhi High Court had pulled up DDA for failing to clean up Tughlakabd lake and suggested that since DDA had done good job in maintaining the wetlands in Yamuna Biodiversity Park, the same could be replicated here. In January 2016, the court had directed DDA to provide an expert body’s recommendations to convert the forested district park and the lake near Tughlakabad Fort into a biodiversity park so that an action plan can be formulated. A bench headed by justices BD Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva issued the direction as it felt the local authorities were taking the issue “too lightly” and the expert panels proposal was “encouraging.”
A DDA spokesperson said that the selected sites are home to several species of flora and fauna that are on the verge of extinction. After testing the soil conditions, DDA would try to revive the flora and fauna. According to initial plans, DDA will develop a three-level food chain system — plants, herbivorous and carnivorous animals to maintain a balance of habitat.
Sewage treatment plants to revive water bodies
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has prepared an action plan for the bio remediation of polluted water bodies and treatment of sewage discharge from unauthorised colonies within the fort area.
The DDA and Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials have suggested to set up a sewage treatment plant (STP) in the fort area in order to revive the water body here. They are waiting for a formal approval from ASI for the construction.
“It is important to treat sewage at the source. There is a low-lying region which is about 100m away from the fort wall and is located at much higher ground than the water bodies of the District Park. Spread across 2.5 acres, the land holds raw sewage and is encroached upon,” said CR Babu, of Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems and assists DDA in biodiversity projects.
According to DJB experts, the depression is ideal for setting up of a sewage treatment plant (STP). Laying of pipelines won’t be necessary here due to its location and treated water will pass through the existing channels which will be used for further purification of STP-treated water before it is discharged into water bodies.
Also, 12 unauthorised colonies consisting of more than 15,000 houses require sewage treatment plant within the fort area.
A cascade of wetlands will be created along the channels that presently carry sewage by constructing two or three weirs less than a metre in height. An integrated bio filtration technology will be used for this.
Aquatic vegetation, including phytoand zoo- plankton will be introduced. Fish that consume algae, floating root mats, water lilies and other macrophytes will be introduced after the water is treated.
The sewage that enters into the District Park from Kalkaji extension will be diverted into sewer pipelines that pass along the green belt of PWD on the eastern side.
The natural storm drain will be restored and connected to natural depressions for recharging the groundwater.
For the development and sustainable management of biodiversity parks, a cadre of scientists, technical and support staff is a must. The DDA has already created Delhi Biodiversity Foundation (which is now amended) and a management structure with requisite number of posts including multi-tasking staff.
There is also a proposal to develop a butterfly corner within a recreation park and herbal garden. A peripheral bamboo thicket with 10 species will be developed all along the Maa Anandmai Marg and also on south and north corners of the area to act as a noise barrier and dust trapper.
Greenways with walkways will be developed all along the Fort wall.