A large number of people gathered at the Aravali Biodiversity Park in Gurugram on Sunday to protest against a proposed six-lane road — for better connectivity between the Capital and Manesar — that will cut through the green cover.
The protesters, representing the citizens’ body of Gurugram, gathered to support the ‘Save The Aravali Biodiversity Park’ campaign.
With a show of hands, the people gathered at the site unanimously declared the park a “sacred forest” for themselves. The protesters included ecologists, citizens, jogging groups, and children who had originally planted the trees here.
The protesters said they were shocked to discover that not only had the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority proposed building a six-lane highway cutting through the park, but that the National Highways Authority of India had endorsed the plan.
The road, proposed as part of the Manesar-Gurugram Road Connectivity Project, is supposed to reduce travel time between Manesar and Delhi. The road will primarily benefit industrial transport.
Though latest reports suggest that the road will go along the periphery of the park, the protesters claimed that even the new proposed alignment would have a detrimental impact on the park’s flora and fauna, and effect the water recharge potential and air quality of Millennium City.
The protesters claimed that the water recharge potential would be adversely impacted by the proposed road, which will “obstruct natural drainage channels that flow into the forest as the Aravali Biodiversity Park is a natural basin for the surrounding topography”.
Independent pollution monitoring reports reveal that the park registers some of the cleanest air quality in the National Capital Region.
The protesters further said that the proposed plan was a “gross violation of fundamental right to fresh air”.
“Instead of the State taking cognisance of this model, and celebrating and propagating it, we find ourselves justifying its existence and defending it against destruction,” said the protesters.
The Aravali Biodiversity Park was originally a stone quarry spanning 380-acres.
It is located near the Delhi-Gurugram border and covers the land between Mehrauli-Gurugram Road to National Highway-48.
After quarrying was declared illegal in the Aravallis by the Supreme Court, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, in collaboration with NGO Iamgurgaon, facilitated planting of trees in the area.