'Go green', DDA tells Delhiites

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New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) The national capital, with 19 per cent of vegetation cover falling short by a few per cent in achieving the recommended target by the Forest policy of India, is buckling up to enhance the green cover ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Organising a trip to the Northern ridge for the media persons on the occasion of the 24th annual DDA garden festival and flower show, DDA Director, PR, Neemo Dhar said, ''to provide more greenery to the capital is the duty of the DDA, as the population is increasing and people require sufficient lung spaces.'' She said Rs 150 crore has been spent in the current financial year for upgrading and maintenance of horticulture and around five to six lakh saplings would be planted across the city, including in the gardens this year.

Besides, 111 districts park Delhi had 255 neighbourhood parks, 26 play areas, 14 multi gyms and 14 sports complexes.

Asked if irrigation was a major problem and usage of sewer water was putting bio-diversity at risk, DDA Landscape Director Savita Bhandari said, "sewage water is always treated to a level where it is fit for irrigation. Moreover, the checking of BOD level is a must. Without it, no water is allowed to used for irrigation." As such, water in the region does not cause any harm to the environment, she added.

Trees of Indian origin like 'Peepal', 'Neem', 'Peelkhan', 'Burgad, were being planted in the ridge areas without damaging the natural vegetation. They consume less water in comparison to 'keekars' and Eucalyptous, which were planted during the British regime that depleted the water table more rapidly, she said.

The fact that these ridges remain the natural habitat of birds and animals was also taken into consideration. Thus, no artificial construction had been done in the ridge except in those areas marked for urban development.

Giving the overall achievement status of the DDA, Ms Bhandari said, "out of the total 7777 hectare of ridge land, which is an extension of the Aravalis, DDA has 5050 hectare under its jurisdiction. It has been divided into four parts--Northern, Central, Southern and South central ridge-- and all are being duly taken care of." Apart from these, built heritage sites and bio heritage had also been maintained. For the urban population, new fitness gyms, jogging walkways and all kinds of sports and recreational activities had been opened in the district and neighbourhood parks.

Mr Dhar also denied ews reports of workers being hit by meningitis at the sports village site of the 2010 Commonwealth Games due to poor sanitation.

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