Delhi’s plan to revive Najafgarh Lake, protect biodiversity around it latest news delhi | Delhi News

Officials said the Delhi State Wetlands Authority (SWA) has prepared a detailed action plan to protect and rejuvenate the Najafgarh lake, with departments under the Delhi government working on the ground to replace the lake in the next one to two years. Instructions have been issued to start. informed about the matter.

The reform bid is part of the Environment Management Plan (EMP), prepared by the Delhi government following directions from the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Officials said this would include short-term, medium-term and long-term measures aimed at removing all roads along the lake’s periphery, installing regulators and building ducts and sluices to prevent flooding in the surrounding area.

Environmental experts have struggled to conserve the lake for many years, arguing that its environment requires a high degree of protection for its rich avian ecosystem, which could be lost without it.

Najafgarh Lake is one of the 19 other water bodies in Delhi that are planned to be notified as ‘wetlands’. While the remaining water bodies are being notified by the Delhi government, SWA officials say that the Najafgarh lake will be notified as a wetland by the Centre, due to directions under the National Green Tribunal’s decision.

The NGT in January this year had directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to prepare an Integrated Environment Management Plan (EMP), which would include specific budget allocation for Najafgarh Lake, virtually for paving the way. Notification of Transboundary (Delhi-Haryana) water body as a wetland. Till then, action plans or EMPs are to be implemented, it had said.

Once notified as a wetland, the lake will have a defined boundary and area, thereby reducing the chances of encroachment. In addition, it will also receive funding from the Center for its protection.

Among the immediate or short-term measures specified under the EMP is a species inventory that will be carried out by the State Forest and Wildlife Department, which will map all the fauna in and around the lake. It will mainly focus on the birds visiting the lake. The species list will allow the wetland body to ascertain whether the numbers and counts of certain species are increasing or decreasing over time.

The plan, which was submitted to the NGT on August 12, 2022, has also asked the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FCD) to initiate a feasibility study on the construction of a regulator at Jhatikara, located under the lake. Water level in the lake. The plan states that a similar feasibility check is to be carried out for the construction of sluices or ducts in embankments to allow flooding on the Delhi side.

In the medium-term measures, which are to be implemented over the next two to three years, all obstructions affecting the flow of the lake and the Najafgarh drain will be removed or relocated, including a power sub-station. Meanwhile, the PWD has been asked to provide alternate road connectivity to all the villages around the Najafgarh lake, thereby reducing the traffic and hassle for the migratory birds that visit the lake every year.

“The two major components of the scheme are to regulate the flow of water. The proposed regulator at Jhatikara can control the water level of the lake, while the ducts and drains can control the water level on both the Delhi and Gurugram side. This contour will keep the water level between 209 and 210 and can be especially useful when there is flooding in the adjoining areas,” said Manu Bhatnagar, principal director INTACH and part of Delhi SWA. He says that the idea of ​​restricting direct access to the lake through roads will also ensure wildlife and birds face the least hassle through vehicles.

“Vehicles will be allowed only up to a certain point, after which people will either have to walk till the lake, or there will be provision for e-bikes or something similar,” he said.

A second SWA official, on the condition of anonymity, said all the departments involved had already started work on the action plan, adding that the Delhi government’s ‘Wetland Mitras’ could also be used to protect the lake. He is going. “We have also asked the revenue department to come out with an incentive-based scheme under which private land owners near the lake can contribute to the conservation of the lake,” the official said. It is built near the lake.

CR Babu, head of environmental management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE) in Delhi, said that over time, the catchment area of ​​the Najafgarh lake has reduced, with most of the water in the lake now coming through storm drains that bring sewage. “It is important to ensure on-site treatment of water from these drains or use sewage treatment plants to ensure that the water coming into the lake is clean. Meanwhile the regulators can check the water flow. This will be beneficial as the Delhi side regularly floods due to excess water,” he said.

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