G-20: Diplomats of 11 countries visit Asita East park on Yamuna floodplain
New Delhi: Diplomats of 11 countries visited Asita East, a biodiversity park on the Yamuna floodplain, for a nature trail and birdwatching, officials said on Sunday.
In an effort aimed at showcasing Delhi’s natural heritage before the world leaders congregating in the national Capital for various G-20 events, Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena hosted the envoys at Asita East, which has been restored by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
Saxena exhorted all stakeholders to put in collective efforts in undoing the destruction caused to the natural heritage due to rampant urbanisation.
“Asita has been our own effort at such rejuvenation. Just six months back, this fragile riverine ecosystem was a dump yard of waste, squatters and stray animals. Persistent efforts by DDA has resulted in salvaging a self-contained ecosystem that houses rich natural diversity.
“Though the Yamuna floodplain remains fragile, efforts are being made to restore and rejuvenate Delhi’s natural heritage that is crucial for making Delhi environmentally sustainable with a refurbished green-blue ecosystem,” he said.
Ambassadors and other diplomats of 11 countries, including some G-20 member nations, visited Asita East early morning and went on a nature trail and birdwatching tour along the floodplain, spotting more than 30 species of birds, according to a Raj Niwas statement.
India’s G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant, Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi and former foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla were also present.
Housing varied flora and fauna, including rare migratory birds, the complex has evolved into a paradise for birders
in a short span of time, it said.
Diplomats also went cycling through the vast grasslands of Asita East. Considering the eco-sensitive character of the floodplain, the visitors left their vehicles right at the entrance on Vikas Marg and took electric carts to reach the floodplain. Some of the visitors also preferred walking to the floodplain, the statement said.
It said the diplomats were visibly impressed by the turnaround of this stretch of the Yamuna floodplain in a record time of less than six months.
Spread over 90 hectares, Asita East has been rejuvenated by restoring natural depressions, creating catchment zones, reviving floodplain forests and grasslands and creating favourable habitats especially for water and terrestrial birds.
The floodplain had degraded into a dumping ground and was largely encroached upon by squatters. However, with the intervention of the Delhi High Court, the squatters were removed and the entire area was reclaimed by the DDA.