Staff Reporter

Delhi will soon have 32 of them, says Sheila

NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit inaugurated a city forest at Chhawla on the banks of the Najafgarh drain in South-West Delhi on Saturday. Over 12,000 saplings will be planted here over the next few weeks.

Ms. Dikshit said the greening drive of her government had taken off with the opening of the Chhawla city forest. “The drive will conclude in October. In all, nine city forests in different parts would be set up and 18 lakh saplings would be planted during this greening drive in Delhi.”

Claiming that Delhi had become the greenest Capital city in the world, the Chief Minister said the entire credit for large-scale greening activity goes to school children who have become a role model in this field. “Delhi would soon have 32 city forests. Nine city forests were set up last year whereas 14 were in existence before that. With this, the green cover of Delhi would go up beyond 20 per cent of its total area. It is essential to grow more and more trees to maintain ecological balance in view of the large-scale concrete jungle coming up in the city. The expansion of greenery would also help in curbing challenges arising out of climate change,” she added.

Describing the new city forest as another lung of the Capital that would go a long way in ensuring a clean environment, the Chief Minister said the Chhawla city forest was being developed over a 12-hectare terrain that belongs to the Irrigation and Flood Control Department.

“This land has been handed over to the Environment Department to develop as a city jungle and a boundary wall has been constructed around it. It will fulfil the urban forest requirements and improve the physical and natural environment by controlling various kinds of pollutants. It would also help in developing a potential habitat for resident and migratory wildlife in urban and nearby areas,” she added.

Local MLA Vijay Lochav and State Environment Secretary J. K. Dadoo were among those present on the occasion. A large number of children planted 1,000 saplings on the banks of the Najafgarh drain in the presence of the Chief Minister.