Forest department to start work on Gurugram’s largest urban forest today
In a move to establish a 1,000-acre city forest, the district forest department will hold a plantation drive near Sakatpur village, in Sector 76, at 9am on Friday, as part of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan’s afforestation component.
The proposed city forest in the Aravalli foothills, the third such setup — the others being the Aravalli Biodiversity Park and Wazirabad bundh — will be the largest urban forest of Gurugram, according to officials.
Afforestation is one of the five major interventions for water conservation proposed under the Centre’s Jal Shakti Abhiyan, being implemented locally by the district administration. The forest department, on August 6, was instructed by the principal chief conservator of forests (Haryana), to carry out “this plantation drive on a big scale involving the staff of forest department, other related departments, NGOs, and educational institutions.”
“We are hoping to develop this city forest in collaboration with private companies, under the corporate social responsibility model. We are considering allotting areas to companies interested in planting at least 2,500 saplings and maintaining them for at least four years, until the vegetation is self-sufficient,” a forest department official said.
Officials also said that the forest will have all the components of a sustainable ecosystem, such as native plant varieties and water bodies, which will be strategically located in high recharge zones to trap rainwater coming from the Aravallis, and replenish the underlying groundwater table. It will, like the Aravalli Biodiversity Park, also have walkable trails and rest areas to attract visitors, said officials.
Last month, at an RWA-related event in the city, the state minister for forests and public work, Rao Narbir Singh, had first announced plans for this city forest. At the time, Singh said that the land would be identified and work will commence before August 15. Department officials said they are planning to plant around 2 lakh saplings in the area this year.
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