The Greater Noida authority on Thursday said it has decided to develop an eco park across 2,500 acres on the lines of forest reserves at Paris in France. The park is proposed to be developed inside three forest reserves -- on 803 acres in Surajpur, 743 acres in Gulistanpur and 1,112 acres in Murshadpur.
A team of officials comprising Sanjeev Saran, principal secretary of forest department, Deepak Agarwal, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Greater Noida authority and HV Girish, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Gautam Budh Nagar, had visited Paris for five days.
The team returned on June 19 and will use the Paris models of forest reserves for developing the eco park in Greater Noida.
“We visited five forest reserves in Paris. Each forest reserve has a core area, buffer zone, regulated area and community area. Visitors can go to the community areas to enjoy the greenery. With community involvement in forest reserves, we can effectively work for conservation of our green areas,” Agarwal said.
Development of the eco park as the biggest oxygen bank in Gautam Budh Nagar is a high-priority project as Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had announced the project to combat rising pollution.
Following the CM’s instructions, the authority allocated Rs136 crore for the park.
“Budget is not an issue for this project as the authority can expand it if required. We will finalise the detailed project report for this project and get environmental clearances before starting work on the ground,” Agarwal said.
“We will develop walkways, watch towers and other facilities for visitors on the lines of forest reserves in Paris. We will rejuvenate water bodies and conduct tree plantations to increase the density of existing green cover,” Anand Mohan Singh, director horticulture of the Greater Noida authority, said.
Vikrant Tongad, Greater Noida based environmentalist, however, objected to the development of an eco park, on the grounds that developmental activities will destroy forest reserves and wildlife habitat in Surajpur. Tongad filed a petition with National Green Tribunal (NGT), which on May 30, halted work on the project.
“There is confusion regarding the project. We will not tamper with the old forest area. Instead, we will do fencing around three forest reserves. We want to promote regulated eco tourism so that communities become aware of forest conservation and do their bit,” Agarwal said.