Role of Eco Task Force in Restoration of Degraded Ridge Ecosystem
‘The Bhatti Mines’ Delhi
Dr. Surya Prakash
Located in southeastern part of southern ridge in Aravalli valley bridging the two states Delhi & Haryana, Bhatti mines was a home to many wild animals and native flora of Aravalli ranges till 1900 AD. But due to over expansion of Delhi it lost its wilderness
in the process of urbanization in NCR. Over use of land specially for mining in the area made it lifeless with respect to its original natural glory which continued for many decades before the Territorial Army or Eco Battalion officially took over it from
Delhi govt. in 2001.
Eco task force at Bhatti Mines, New Delhi
E.T.F. also took nearly 4 years to permanently stop all illegal mining work and restore its original glory as a wildlife sanctuary in its approximately 4000 acres of land.
Today E.T.F has completely transformed this ecologically degraded ecosystem into a very lively ridge ecosystem through sustainable developments in the area by the plantation of species of trees native to Aravallli like Butea monosperma, Salvadora, P.cineraria,
A. nilotica , Anogeissus pendula etc.
Butea monosperma in Bhatti Mines
The depressions formed due to mining were used as water bodies there are 36 such water bodies.today. Many small to big check dams were constructed in the area where ever there was a natural water fall and man made or natural depressions were present as
a result water table came up. In the year 2011 there was indeed good rainfall so all the water bodies filled up uplifting and restoring the water table in the area. Today because of this effort of E.T.F. the faunal diversity has started blooming and over 100
species of birds can be sighted here including many migratory species ( Winter & Summer) like Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Crested Pied Cuckoos, Eurasian Golden Oriole etc other than many rare and resident species like Sirkeer Malkoha, Jungle Bush Quail,
Barred Button Quail, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Eurasian Thick Knees and recently photographed Painted Sandgrouses etc. Many species of butterflies like Blue, Plain and Striped Tigers, Pansies, Blues etc.Many reptiles like Monitor lizards, Sand and Garden Lizards
,Cobras, Kraits and recent addition of Saw scaled Viper are such examples of the sustainable development and its restoration.
Painted sandgrouses-Pair seen in Bhatti mines
Among mammals are the 3 species of Mongoose, Indian Crested Porcupines, Golden Jackal,Bluebulls,Black Napped Hare and a pack of Striped Hyena are the latest additions in the list as the topmost occupants of the food chain are breeding in Bhatti Mines.
Striped Hyena is breeding in the forests of Bhatti mines
I convey my heartiest congratulations to the entire 132 INF BN (TA) ECO RAJPUT battalion for the restoration of this degraded forest despite many bottlenecks, traffic jams and speed breakers in this journey simply within one decade & specially when UN has
declared year 2011 as an International year of Forests and wish them all success in future. Hope the recent visit of Miss India Earth 2011 will surely help them in the task.
All photographs are by Dr. Surya Prakash. In the above photo he is seen presenting two books to Miss India -Earth(2011) Miss Hasleen Kaur.