As pollution levels rise all over the country and especially in the National Capital Region, the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) has geared itself to bring down the pollution levels with its large, beautiful and numerous parks and green patches. The Ghaziabad Development Authority knows the importance of giving its residents green and clean surroundings to reside in and hence the Authority, headed by its dynamic vice-chairman Vijay Kumar Yadav, has taken several concrete measures to improve and further develop the green patches of the region.
With over 110 large and small parks and green fields, Ghaziabad is all set to be the next “park city” in India. The GDA is committed to turning the area under its jurisdiction into a “smart city” which leads the way to a new “green revolution” in the country. Taking a cue from the national Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the state level “Clean UP-Green UP” initiatives, the Authority has put in place, showing great foresight, systems that will ensure that these parks and green patches are maintained properly.
Hindon river City forest
Starting with the largest of the projects, the Hindon River City Forest is the jewel in the crown of the horticulture department of the Ghaziabad Development Authority. The reserve spread over 125 acres will be a great haven that serves as an amusement zone for the residents, a habitat for migratory birds, and will replenish the polluted air of the city. The Hindon River City Forest has facilities like Gypsy safari for people who would like to drive to a jungle-like setting and explore. To control traffic and maintain the calm environment inside the forest, the GDA has banned the use of private vehicles inside the forest. The park also has a food court where visitors can come and enjoy a picnic. Though litter has increased in areas near the food facilities, the GDA has installed a large number of dustbins around the forest and will hold vendors accountable for the litter around their stalls.
The Hindon River City Forest is also a haven for abandoned cows. Before the GDA took over this patch of land, the area had a cow shed and due to its poor management, was the source of a lot of litter from the animals. The Ghaziabad Development Authority vice-chairman’s team renovated the cow shed and has used the cow dung and cow urine to irrigate the land, further improving the quality of the plants. Aside from the boating lake, the Authority has also built another reserve which collects the urine from the cow shed and water from the lake and this is used to irrigate the trees and plants in the forest.
Other attractions of the City Forest include a fountain square where visitors can also enjoy looking at mini gold fish in the pond. Installation of a mini zoo has also been planned to attract children. Another special attraction for children is the butterfly garden which will have boards with information about different butterflies that can be found in the forest. A watch tower at the highest point of the forest will provide an exquisite panoramic view to all visitors. Another project to please the children is a grass maze that will prove to be an indulgent and intelligent game. Along with all these, the GDA also plans to add a herbal garden, an open air film theatre and an orchard. Ghaziabad residents who like to take part in adventures activities will also find something to their taste in this forest as there is also an adventure zone in the forest.
Manav Aushadhi Park
Keeping in mind the importance of greenery in the life of children, the GDA has also developed a Manav Aushadhi Park to educate the young about the medicinal qualities of various herbs. The park now hosts many tours from schools where students learn as well as observe various Indian herbs that have powerful medicinal qualities. Another attraction for the students and tourists is the Sculpture Park, the 17,000 square metre garden with its creative and artistic sculptures.
Swarn Jayanti Park
The Ghaziabad Development Authority has also built the Swarn Jayanti Park in the Indirapuram yojana. This beautiful park is good for walking and exercise and recreation activities for hundreds of people. One can see people of all ages, gender, religion and sects assemble in this park for a leisurely evening or a quick morning walk. The Rani Jhansi statue on the raised platform in the park is a beautiful statue and a wonderful homage to the great Warrior Queen. The park spreads across 25 acres of green patch which is well equipped with walking tracks and benches for the elderly to talk and walk. The park also has facilities for little children to play and enjoy themselves. Keeping in mind the youth’s desire to stay fit and be in great physical shape, the GDA has also installed Open Air Gyms in several places in the Indirapuram yojana. These gyms are equipped with several body toning machines and are at the disposal of the young men and women as all times. The GDA will ensure the maintenance and upkeep of these Open Air Gyms on a priority basis.
Madhuban -Babudham parks
The Ghaziabad Development Authority has been developing a new locality called the Madhuban Babudham. In this locality, the GDA aims to provide residents clean and green surroundings to live in. The GDA plans to open 16 sizeable parks in this area. The residents of the Madhuban Babudham area will have the great advantage of always being close to nature and enjoy clean and fresh air at all times because of this move by the GDA. The parks would be a blessing for the children of the area as they will always have an area to play in. It will be through these parks that a great community would be built in the area.
Ram Manohar -Lohia Park
This beautiful park is one of the many parks that the GDA has worked hard to make and maintain. Over 40 acres, this park is cherished by both the GDA and the residents of Rajendre Nagar where it is situated. The park with its cool shades, green surroundings and walking tracks is a great place for the nearby community to collect and live their lives in harmony amidst nature. The park is very spacious and can accommodate lots of children who wish to play in it.
The masterpiece of the horticulture department of the GDA, this park is bound to attract a lot of attention. This park will pack a lot of attractions for visitors to Ghaziabad. The park is spread over 25 acres and will have all sorts of interesting flora in it. The park’s plantations has been planned by GDA vice-chairman Vijay Kumar Yadav in a way that no matter what the season is, at least one part of the park will bear flowers. The park will attract visitors through all seasons with its mix of perennial and seasonal flowers. This park, too, has a lake where people can enjoy boating with their family. The GDA has also built a green maze in this garden for young visitors to enjoy.
Last but not the least, the GDA has paid special attention to providing its residents with the best sports facilities for recreation. The Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey stadium is a state-of-the-art 10,000 square meters facility that is operational. The Nehru Cricket Stadium is another such facility. The GDA hopes that the 27,000 square metre stadium will help produce great players for the country. They have also developed a 4.5 acre play ground for young adults and children with benches and walking trains for the elderly in the Indrapuram area.
Growing pollution and difficulties
Taking in view the daily growth that Ghaziabad has seen, be it the growth of population or the large and growing industrial sector the population has attracted, the GDA is all set to reduce and control the negative effects of development and has been doing groundbreaking work to reduce pollution. Because of its geographical location in the National Capital Region, Ghaziabad is often considered the doorway to the capital and the GDA is trying to make the city worthy of its reputation.
People travelling from New Delhi to Uttar Pradesh or to Uttarakhand pass through Ghaziabad which leads to a lot of traffic passing through the city. Similarly, all trains from New Delhi bound for Saharanpur, Lucknow, Hapur, Kanpur and Aligahar also pass through Ghaziabad, leading to a lot of pollution. Keeping in view all such issues, the GDA has planned to develop the Hindon City Forest and has dedicated a budget of Rs 12 crore to this project. Along with 125 acres of the City Forest, the area surrounding it, which is a green belt in the Master Plan, will amount to 2,000 acres of green area.
Though the park was an area under the GDA, vice-chairman Yadav faced some challenges developing it into the place that it is today. The vast dense forest, though regulated now, was previously an area infamous for all sorts of anti-social activities and was an area to be avoided after darkness decended. As the GDA announced its plans for the area, it soon started receiving threats from all those whose illegal rackets in the area would have been exposed or stopped if the park was made. Despite such threats, the Authority did not stop going forward with its plans. This was also the case when the GDA reclaimed its land that residents of the Indrapuram area had encroached upon. The GDA started an anti-encroachment drive and has converted the area around the Indrapuram yojana in green strips that have beautified the area.
Keeping in mind the rapid growth in population, the GDA holds massive plantation drives. These drives will bear fruit in future when the city is under adequate green cover due to the trees planted by the GDA under the dynamic leadership of its vice-chairman Vijay Kumar Yadav. The GDA plants about one lakh plants every year to augment the greenery in the parks around the city. Last year on 2 August, the GDA along with a civil defence team held a plantation drive where 41,000 saplings were planted in different parts of the city.