DDA: Delhi 'cycle walk' project envisions planting thousands of indigenous trees

New Delhi: The first leg of the DDA's 'cycle walk' project envisions planting thousands of indigenous trees and transplanting a few species within forests, the urban body said on Thursday.

The project, a pro-ecology initiative, is part of the government's climate change resilience efforts to serve the twin purpose of strengthening forests and green cover and creating a safe dedicated walking and cycling track for citizens to "engage meaningfully with the beautiful city forests and master plan greens of Delhi", the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) said in a statement.

"Leg A of the 'cycle walk' project starting from Sangam Vihar to the Malviya Nagar metro station imagines planting of thousands of indigenous trees and transplantation of a few trees within the forests," it said. In Sangam Vihar, there is hardly any vegetation on the ground except some 'kikkar' trees. Through the 'cycle walk' project, indigenous trees will be planted along the tracks. The DDA is adding approximately eight acres of new forest land to the city. The city's biomass and carbon sequestration capacity will get upgraded as a result of the project, the DDA said.

Indigenous trees being planted will also have many fruit trees such as 'gular' and 'pilkhan' that offer a great habitat for birds to thrive. Nearly 4,000 indigenous trees are being planted. Shrubs and ground covers that attract bees and butterflies are being introduced to strengthen the ecosystem, the DDA said.

Cycling tracks currently exist in Sanjay Van and "no adverse effect on the ecology" has been observed over the years, it said.

"Walking tracks exist within the Jahanpanah City Forest and no adverse effect on the ecology has been noticed so far. The proposed cycle track has a 'kuccha' track for walking as well as a 'kuccha' track for cycling, planned very carefully, meandering through the trees in order to avoid damage," the DDA said in its statement.

It further said, "While proposing the 'cycle walk', the already existing redundant path along the boundary of Jahapanah forest has been thoughtfully designed. There will not be any tree cutting in lieu of the pathways and reduction of green cover. Otherwise, the Central Empowered Committee would not have considered this proposal," it said.

To avoid cutting trees for the 'cycle walk', the track has been designed to meander and cross-overs have been proposed over ditches and low-lying areas. Since earth-filling has been avoided, the low-lying areas will act as water reservoirs and natural water harvesting areas, officials said. "There is absolutely no chance of a motorised vehicle operating on these tracks as these are 'kuccha' tracks and quite narrow for vehicles ... Also, each point of entry shall be guarded and has bollards with narrow gaps to disallow any motorists," according to the DDA. "The number of cyclists are to be regulated right at the gated entry plaza. In Jahapanah forest, the number of cyclists or pedestrians has been restricted per day at a time using the proposed cycle track. No night movement is to be allowed," it said. With pti inputs

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