Govt plans 10-acre lake in foothills of Aravallis
The district may get a 10-acre lake and a “leopard safari” soon, as the Haryana government is planning to develop a forest on about 1,000 acres of land spread over several villages, including Gairatpur Bas.
The lake will come up at Gairatpur Bas in the Aravalli’s foothills, years after the natural lake at Damdama dried up over the course of time.
The forest department has long been planning to develop the natural depression area of Gairatpur Bas — about 10km from Rajiv Chowk on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway — as a proper lake by making a permanent source of water, apart from the natural source of rainwater flow from the Aravallis.
To link the site with the Behrampur sewage treatment plant (STP), Sector 72 — around 3.5km from Gairatpur Bas — the forest department has roped in the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) to lay a water pipeline between the STP and Gairatpur Bas as permanent source of water.
The forest department said the GMDA would supply tertiary -level treated wastewater to the lake through the pipeline, as the quality of such water is not harmful for plantation and animals.
The department is also planning to develop a leopard safari in the area around the lake, which is currently the only water catchment area in the entire Aravalli foothills in Gurugram district.
“The scenic beauty we can develop with lake and forest is not possible around Najafgarh drain, Sultanpur and Damdama. Damdama is too far from the STP and laying a pipeline would not be a viable idea.
At Gairatpur Bas, there is scope of developing leopard safari. We are working in this regard,” said Subhash Yadav, district forest officer (DFO), Gurugram.
A team of officials from the forest department and GMDA had visited the site two weeks ago, and held a meeting on August 9, in which they decided to prepare detailed project reports (DPRs) separately for leopard safari and water pipeline laying work.
Yadav said, “We will prepare a detailed project report by the end of October at the latest, for a leopard safari by engaging a consultant. We want to develop this forested area of the Aravallis at Gairatpur Bas, which is not too far from the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, as a tourist place where people can enjoy boat rides on a lake, watch birds and scenic beauty of various plant species. Visitors can also enjoy leopard safari that we will develop as per guidelines of the ministry of environment and forest.”
Till late 1990s, Damdama Lake used to attract visitors to enjoy boating.
The bird sanctuary at Sultanpur too has not remained as attractive as it used to be till a decade ago, thanks to rapid constructions in the district.
“Besides the GMDA’s STP, we have also been laying pipelines and making channels in the Aravallis around the depression area to make rainwater flow to the lake during rainy season,” said the DFO.
GMDA officials said they have prepared a DPR for the pipeline work and sent it to the Haryana government on Saturday.
“If the DPR is approved by the government, we will complete water pipeline laying work by March 2020. We have adequate tertiary treated water at the STP that can be used to develop depression area as lake at Gairatpur Bas,” said a GMDA official familiar with the matter.
Environmentalists said they will wait for the forest department to reveal the project details. “There is nothing in the public domain regarding leopard safari till date. We are not in favour of restricting leopards to artificial enclosures at safari. This is a free leopard zone and their natural freedom cannot be restricted,” said SS Oberoi, a city-based environmentalist.