Rakhis tied to trees in Aravalis

The group of 20 people planted 40 saplings of native varieties

August 04, 2020 08:11 am | Updated 08:12 am IST - GURUGRAM

De03 Rakhi

De03 Rakhi

For a few Gurugram residents, Raksha Bandhan morning on Monday started with expressing their love and care for the Aravalis.

Using leaf vines, women and children tied symbolic rakhi to the trees and took an oath to protect the forests that are the Millennium City’s lifeline for clean air and water. This group of 20 citizens also participated in a plantation drive organised by the Gurugram Forest Department to reclaim encroached Aravali forest land near Kholi Baba Mandir behind Suncity in Sector 54. “We planted around 40 saplings of native varieties. It has been a great initiative by the Gurugram Forest Department to involve the citizens in this exercise,” stated Puja Ahmed, an active member of the Aravali Bachao Citizens Movement.

“I had only read about the monitor lizard in my science book but saw it for the first time in the Aravali forest when we came here for the tree plantation. Along with my brother, I have taken a sacred oath on this rakshabandhan to protect the home of all the reptiles, birds, butterflies and mammals such as leopards, jackals, nilgais, civet cats, porcupines that live here,” said 13-year-old Ayana Chaudhary.

Water security

The degradation of the Aravalis threatens Gurugram and National Capital Region’s water security. High levels of natural cracks and fissures in the Aravali hills make this mountain range a superior zone for recharging groundwater, which is in the red zone at this point in time as extraction is several folds more than what is put back into the ground.

Vaishali Rana Chandra, an environment activist, said they would like to see all the illegal encroachments in Raisina hills, Behalpa, Ghata, Haiderpur Viran and others removed and native flora planted to restore the Aravali forest in Gurugram.

“We live in one of the most polluted cities in the world. It feels good to have contributed to increasing the native green cover of our city as part of this drive today (Monday),” said Aditya Mukarji, a teenager networking with young people across different cities to plant native flora.

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