For the last couple of years, Delhi Development Authority has been meticulously working on rejuvenating and ecologically restoring the Yamuna riverfront as part of its ambitious project “Asita”. Ina series of nature-based events over a two-week-long programme, DDA now plans to connect and bring people closer to the river.
From nature walks to cycle rallies, sand art and cleaning of ghats, DDA has planned the nature-oriented activities between February 19 and March 6 on the theme of “Rejuvenation of River Yamuna Floodplain”.
Asita, which is another name of the river, is divided into four phases. The area under the first phase has largely been developed and partially opened to the public. As part of Phase-I of the project, DDA had taken over 494 acres on the western riverbank between Old Yamuna Bridge and ITO Bridge. The area open to the public has parks, recreational areas, green walkways,cycle tracks, wetlands and a green buffer area.
As the country is celebrating “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” to commemorate 75 years of Independence, DDA is also participating in the event under Union ministry of housing and urban affairs and as a part of “Smart Cities,Smart Urbanisation”. An official said the nature-based activities along the Yamuna floodplain would involv e people of all age groups to connect them to the river. The events that have been planned will be held in the ‘greenways’ of DDA’s ongoing project of restoration and rejuvenation of the floodplains of the river. The first event that has been planned involves sand art and play on the theme of ‘A zaadi Darshan’ and would be held at the Amrit Biodiversity Park, which too is being developed to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence.
A nature walk and bird watching would be held along the eco-trail to replicate the Dandi March. A cycle rally, “Avartan Rally”, would be organised from the northern parts of the western bank of the river to Kalindi Kunj in the south, along structures of national importance.
Other events include a “Jagrukta Abhiyaan” at Yamuna Biodiversity Park to create awareness regarding revival of the ecosystem and a “Swacchta Abhiyaan” to clear Qudsia Ghat of litter. Yoga activities would also be organised by DDA through the event “Yog abhyas” on the western bank.
Last year, DDA’s efforts to restore and rejuvenate the floodplain were chosen to be showcased at the prestigious London Design Biennale 2021, a global gathering of designers, curators and design institutes. The authority has been trying to ensure that Delhiites ar e able to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the riverfront from close quarters, but without disturbing the flora and fauna of this ecologically sensitive zone.