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Haryana

10 yrs on, Ggm NGO seeks heritage tag for Aravalli park

September 26, 2020 06:37 AM

COURTESY HT SEPT 26

10 yrs on, Ggm NGO seeks heritage tag for Aravalli park
IAmGurgaon, a city-based NGO, Friday released a report chronicling the 10-year journey of the ecological restoration of the Aravalli park


Read: Aravalli Biodiversity Park reopens in Gurugram
Prayag Arora-Desai

prayag.desai@htlive.com

Gururgam : City-based NGO IAmGurgaon on Friday released a report, ‘Making of a City Forest’, chronicling the 10-year journey of the ecological restoration of the Aravalli Biodiversity Park. Highlighting the scientific importance of the park, which experts regard as a valuable repository of native Aravalli flora and fauna, the report also seeks that the park be declared as a biodiversity heritage site (BHS) under the ownership of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG).

Inaugurated by the then chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in June 2010, the park has since revived over 380 acres of Aravalli land near Nathupur village, which had been denuded after close to four decades of mining, leaving the land barren and infested with invasive species of vegetation. Since then, however, the location has come to foster multiple ecosystems, including dense woodlands, grasslands, rocky outcrops and water bodies.

However, with no formal legal protection for the site, IAmGurgaon’s report expresses concern over the park’s future. “The park still does not have a legal sanctity. In our opinion, it has to be declared as a biodiversity heritage site under the Biological Diversity Act. By declaring the park a heritage site, we shall be able to add value to Gurugram’s heritage,” IAmGurgaon’s report states in its concluding chapter.

As part of a “phase-II level of intervention”, IAmGurgaon has also sought to create an environment management plan, which would formalise protocols for future ecological and financial maintenance.

Explaining the need for these, Vijay Dhasmana, an eco-restoration practitioner who helmed the park’s revival, said, “The park is a work in progress. While the forest is becoming more and more self-sufficient by the day, some maintenance is still required. Designating the area as a BHS under the Biodiversity Act would retain ownership of the land with the MCG, but also ensure an added layer of protection for the plants, birds and animals. The park is an extremely rich source of insight into how a young Aravalli forest appears and behaves. There is a tremendous amount of ecological research which can be done, and should be encouraged.”

Other experts agreed with this view, stating that there is no comparable Aravalli forest with similar research potential. Chetan Agarwal, a Gurugram resident and environment analyst with the Centre for Ecological Development and Research (CEDAR), referred to the park as a “proof of concept” that degraded Aravalli lands in Haryana can indeed be restored into thriving, functional forests.

“Going forward, we need to ensure that the nature of the land is not disturbed. There is no comparable native forest in the area other than Mangar bani in Faridabad, but that is a mature landscape with different learnings to offer. The Aravalli park offers us a singular chance to record and observe the temporal progression of a young Aravalli forest.”

Asked whether the MCG is open to designating the park as a biological heritage site, municipal commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh did not respond directly. “The tenure of our agreement with IAmGurgaon has expired in March. MCG will continue to work with experts and maintain the park as a site of ecological importance. We are considering operating the park on a CSR model with city-based corporates. Discussions with a few companies are ongoing and we will finalise the way forward by October 31,” he said.

 

 
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