Delhi's Bhatti mines to welcome trekkers

Ecological Task Force has been working to increase green cover


Neha Sethi | March 15, 2010

Col Semwal points to the spot that will host rock-climbing facility
Col Semwal points to the spot that will host rock-climbing facility

The Bhatti mines, once a rocky and arid patch on the outskirts of Delhi, was earlier known for mining. Soon it will be known as a hub for adventure sports.

“The chief minister of Delhi (Sheila Dikshit) has in principle agreed to the proposal of having a trekking track and rock climbing facility in the Bhatti mines area during a meeting with the additional director general of the Territorial Army,” said Col D R Semwal, commanding officer of the 132 Ecological Task Force (ETF), that has been tasked to revive the area.

Officially speaking, the last truck loaded out of Bhatti mines left in 1988. However, illegal mining went on in the area -- about nine km south of Chhattarpur locality -- till about 2004.

The state government set up the ETF in 2000 to revive the mined area as a reserved forest and to prevent illegal mining.

Around 3,600 acres of the land in Bhatti mines is now under the ETF. “This land was handed over to the ETF in a phased manner in the last ten years,” Col. Semwal told Governance Now. The area now boasts of 12 lakh trees, which have been planted since 2000.

“The government has spent Rs 25 crore since 2000 to revive the area and improve its green cover,” he added.

Col. Semwal said the proposed trekking track is around 12-13 kilometres long. “We hope that work will start on the trekking track in the next four-five months, once we get a written approval from the government,” he said. He was hopeful that the activities could start within one year in the area.




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