More than 20 years after the forest department got transfer of land that was intended for development of a bird sanctuary near river Hindon, the officials have decided to give the area a green cover.
The officials will undertake a massive plantation drive on July 11 -- the government plans to plant a record five crore saplings in a single day.
“An area of nearly four hectares at Hindon Pakshi Vihar will see plantation of 2,500 saplings during the plantation drive,” said BP Singh, district forest officer.
Green activists said the move was welcome and one necessary to protect the land as several government agencies had staked claims over the land designated to provide a green buffer to the city. The prime land was being eyed by private developers for long.
“The plantation will provide a beginning to make the area green as envisaged. This will protect the land from encroachment and also help biodiversity,” said Akash Vashishtha, an environmentalist.
In order to make the land to a bird sanctuary, a Ghaziabad resident had also moved National Green Tribunal in an appeal.
The area is surrounded by Delhi-Howrah rail section on one side and Vasundhara residential locality on the other. It was in March 1994 that the then district magistrate ordered resumption (transfer) of 77 bighas of land -- comprising 11 chunks -- to the forest department with an intent to develop a bird sanctuary.
The land got transferred to the forest department in September 1995 but the officials could not get the bird sanctuary declared as per the provisions of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
During the proposed plantation drive on July 11, nearly 60.122 hectares in Ghaziabad will witness plantation of nearly 78,760 saplings.