After row, Delhi Development Authority defends plan for eco-tourism at Sanjay Van

The DDA recently invited expression of interest (EOI) from companies to develop Sanjay Van in south Delhi, the 783-acre green lung of the national capital, as an ecotourism destination, with facilities for activities such as rock climbing, aerial trails (canopy tour or ziplines), forest safari, cycling, picnic and camping spots, among others
A view of Sanjay Van forest reserve. DDA officials said they are not planning any major constructions in the area, since it is part of the Ridge, which is a reserved forest area where all non-forest activities are curtailed. (HT Archive)
A view of Sanjay Van forest reserve. DDA officials said they are not planning any major constructions in the area, since it is part of the Ridge, which is a reserved forest area where all non-forest activities are curtailed. (HT Archive)
Published on Oct 20, 2021 11:39 PM IST
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Following criticism from environmentalists and citizen groups, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has clarified that its proposal to develop an eco-tourism project at Sanjay Van is aimed at creating awareness and providing recreational facilities to people living near it.

The DDA recently invited expression of interest (EOI) from companies to develop Sanjay Van in south Delhi, the 783-acre green lung of the national capital, as an ecotourism destination, with facilities for activities such as rock climbing, aerial trails (canopy tour or ziplines), forest safari, cycling, picnic and camping spots, among others.

“Sanjay Van, an integral part of South Central Ridge, attracts tonnes of visitors for daily leisure activities. DDA’s current proposal of introducing activities related to nature based eco-tourism aims to create environmental awareness and recreation amidst a natural setting in an eco-friendly manner using locally available resources. The activities proposed, like rock climbing, forest leisure cycling, camping, star gazing activities, guided nature tour etc have been included keeping their nature of application and natural context,” read the statement by DDA.

DDA official said that the purpose of EOI is to “encourage community participation to sensitise the public towards environmental awareness via knowledge dissemination through nature walks, educational tours etc”.

The project will be developed on a public-private partnership, and a private concessionaire will have to develop and operate the proposed facilities, said a DDA official.

The land-owning agency said that under the PPP model, the concessionaire will also ensure development, operations and maintenance, said a senior official.

“The idea is to allow more and more users from different age groups to visit and appreciate this gem in the heart of the city. After careful site analysis, designated zones for each of the activity will be earmarked in areas already open to public with minimal or no intervention in the existing habitats. The intention is not to create a tourist spot in a natural forest but to give the opportunity to the public to feel connected with such natural heritage available in the domain of the urban fabric of the city of Delhi,” said a DDA official.

DDA officials said they are not planning any major constructions in the area, since it is part of the Ridge, which is a reserved forest area where all non-forest activities are curtailed.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022