Delhi Lieutenant-Governor VK Saxena and Union Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi celebrated World Environment Day by inaugurating the extensive renovation and makeover of the 450-acre Yamuna Vatika.
The project has been taken up by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) as part of the Yamuna floodplain restoration and rejuvenation project. The project, which has been in limbo for over 7 years, gained momentum after the Delhi High Court ruled in favor of the DDA.
In a bold and unconventional move, Saxena planted 500 chinar and 500 cherry blossom saplings at Yamuna Vatika, the latest permanent public green asset created in Delhi after the successful development of Asita and Bansera.
Yamuna Vatika is spread over about 450 acres and is situated on the western bank of the flood plains extending from Old Railway Bridge to ITO Barrage. This initiative is the first time that flora like chinar and cherry blossom are introduced in Delhi. Recently, Chinar and cherry blossom saplings have been planted in the Yamuna islands, which are showing rapid growth.
At Yamuna Vatika, chinar and cherry blossom saplings are strategically planted in a 3-layer circular grid formation over 10 acres of land, with a large green space in the middle. These trees, when in full bloom, present a magnificent sight. Seedlings were first acclimatized to Delhi’s climate in nurseries in a controlled environment for a month before being transplanted to the Yamuna floodplains. Speaking on the occasion, Lt. Governor expressed his belief that DDA’s efforts to restore Yamuna flood plains will not only create eco-friendly permanent green recreational assets for the people of Delhi but also mitigate direct pollution to Yamuna river. Saxena highlighted that the Yamuna Vattika, like other similar projects, aims to restore the ecological character of the Yamuna floodplains and provide relief from the dense urban landscape of central and east Delhi.
The project will provide open recreational space for residents of residential colonies along the eastern bank of the river, including Daryaganj, Kashmir Gate and the Walled City, as well as commuters from North Delhi.
Yamuna Vatika will feature a 10-acre garden, walking paths, jogging/cycling tracks, eco-friendly temporary structures for restaurants and cafeterias, public utilities, event areas, bio-retention zone and an adventure zone with children’s play areas. area, a wetland with a viewing deck.
The existing depressions have been restored and converted into water bodies/wetlands, four water bodies covering an area of about 7.40 hectares and holding about 185 million liters of flood water. In addition, around 12,600 floodplain trees of specific species and 55 lakh riparian grasses are being planted.