Gurugram to get second biodiversity park in SikanderpurUpdated: Sep 15, 2020 00:15 IST
The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) are jointly working on setting up a second biodiversity park in the city, in Sikanderpur, said officials privy to the matter on Monday.
GMDA officials said that the establishment of the park is part of a larger project of restoring a natural pond in the Sikanderpur area that used to exist till 1976. The new park, once constructed, will act as a catchment area for rainwater and will prevent south Gurugram from floods every monsoon season.
As per MCG officials, around 3,500 illegal shanties have been removed from Sikanderpur during multiple demolition drives in July and August this year. Around 300 acres of encroached MCG land has also reclaimed in the process. The new biodiversity park would come up on 150-200 acres of this reclaimed land, said GMDA officials.
The MCG has already started fencing the reclaimed land to prevent future encroachment. “Following multiple demolition drives over the last two months, encroachments on the MCG land in Sikanderpur have been largely removed. The reclaimed land has been handed over to the GMDA, while the MCG is also fencing the area to prevent future encroachment,” said Hariom Attri, joint commissioner, MCG.
MD Sinha, additional chief executive officer of GMDA, highlighted the importance of the new biodiversity park, which would have trees, plants, and shrubs native to the Aravallis and would act as a catchment area for accumulating rainwater and channelising it towards the pond. He further said that the new park will come up right opposite the existing biodiversity park, with the Mehrauli-Gurgaon (MG) Road dividing them.
In December 2018, the GMDA had released a concept paper titled “Revival and Habitat Eco-restoration of Sikanderpur Ghosi Waterbody.” The concept paper stated that, based on the 1976 survey of India’s topographic maps, a deep gorge could be seen between Nathupur Bundh and Chakkarpur-Wazirabad Bundh that used to carry run-off rainwater from the Aravallis to the Najafgarh lake. A large pond in the foothills of the Aravallis in Sikanderpur, which the GMDA is currently reviving, used to form the convergence point of the three streams.
The paper further highlighted the importance of this pond, which used to accumulate run-off rainwater flowing from the foothills of Aravallis and prevented areas in south Gurugram from flooding while also simultaneously recharging the underground water table.
As per the concept paper the “habitat restoration of the watershed would determine the success or failure of the entire project.”
Sinha said increasing the green cover, in the form of a park, is vital as it will act as a watershed area of 150-200 acres for augmenting the flow of rainwater.
“The objective is to restore the Aravallis to its pristine state and also restore the lake. We are also proposing the construction of a pipeline along with a treated water tank. When rainfall ends, we can fill up the pond with treated water. Once the pipeline is constructed, we will have to create an artificial wetland for treating this recycled water by introducing specially cultured bacteria and enzymes,” said Sinha.
Sinha added that the revival of the pond and the park is a long-term project. “This is not an engineering project and, hence, no specific timeline can be projected for it. It will take several years of continuous work for the restoration work to be completed. Currently, a large part of encroachment has been removed and fencing has been carried out by the MCG. After the end of monsoon season, we will start identifying patches of land where in-situ moisture conservation work can be done to improve the moisture retention of soil. Simultaneously, we will also be planting native vegetation,” said Sinha.
GMDA officials said that construction of natural embankments and check dams will help in moisture retention and reduction of soil erosion while planting natural vegetation would help in recharging groundwater.
Sinha said that the work of establishing a new park and restoring pond are being done separately, in two different parts.“In the first part, which involves the restoration of the pond, work has started with the help of corporate social responsibility(CSR) funds with IamGurgaon. In part two, which involves the establishment of a new park, removal of encroachments is largely over and now landscape designing work would start in consultation with the MCG,” said Sinha, adding that until earlier this year, the GMDA was singularly involved in this project. However, now the MCG has also been roped in.
Sinha said that IamGurgaon, a non-profit organisation, has been roped in to work for part one of the project. He, however, said that a final decision on whether the GMDA and MCG themselves would handle part two of the project or whether the work would also be handed over to a third-party is yet to be decided.
Both the MCG and IamGurgaon have been jointly maintaining the original 370-acre Aravalli biodiversity park ever since it opened in June 2010.