New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday launched the pilot project to ecologically restore the central ridge which involves replacing of invasive Mexican trees ‘vilayati kikar’ with indigenous species.
The central ridge is spread over 864 hectares, and according to a plan announced last year, 423 hectares of it will be restored in five years.
“The invasive ‘vilayati kikar’ is spread over 7,500 hectares in Delhi which is not conducive to the capital’s environment. We have today launched the pilot project to remove this tree species from 10 hectares of land in the central ridge,” Rai told reporters.
The forest department plans to remove ‘vilayati kikar’, which doesn’t allow other species to thrive and leads to water table depletion, through canopy lifting and planting native trees, shrubs, and grasses suitable for the ridge’s soil.
The local species include Hingot, Banyan, Bahera, Chamrod, Pilkhan, Amaltas, Mulberry, Palash, Native Acacia, Khair, Bitter gourd, Gular, and Harsingar among others.
Shrubs like Ghatbod, curry leaves, Shatavari, Karonda, Ashwagandha, Jharbera, etc will also be planted.
The department plans to develop grasslands in the central ridge which will be transformed into a butterfly and bird safari, and a world-class central park.
This will also help alleviate air pollution to a large extent, the minister said.
The project also involves construction of check dams and water bodies to cater to the demand for water in the future.
The government had in March last year set up a six-member advisory committee to monitor the progress of the project and ensure timely and effective on-ground compliance.
Considered the green lungs of the national capital, the ridge is an extension of the Aravalli hill range in Delhi and is a rocky, hilly, and forested area.
It has been divided into four zones — south, south-central, central, and north — due to administrative reasons. These four zones make up a total area of around 7,784 hectares. PTI GVS VN VN
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