indian express

Neha Sinha, New Delhi, April 23 2009.

This Commonwealth Games, get ready for drains that, if not cleaner, at least look more colourful.

In a novel project, the Delhi government is opening up the city’s dirtiest drains for ‘adoption’ and beautification to interested schools, colleges and institutions. The adopters can now oversee flower plantations along 35 km of the Shahdara, Burari and Najafgarh drains.

That’s not all. The interested party can even name the particular stretch of drain taken up after him/her or his/her organisation. Work on the project will be expedited by June so that the plants can grow over the monsoons.

“We don’t want our visitors getting to see smelling drains during the Commonwealth Games,” Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta said on the occasion of Earth Day on Wednesday. “We want the city drains to be green. We are asking schools, colleges and institutions to adopt kilometre-long stretches of the drain for flower plantation along the sides. This will be done before the monsoon so that the plants are ready by next year,” Mehta told Newsline.

The plant of choice for the stretches is bougainvillea. “It is a hardy plant. There might not be the need to take care of it after the first six months,” Mehta said.

“Six different colours will be chosen for different drains,” said Environment Secretary J K Dadoo.

Pusa Institute might be roped in for providing saplings for the project.

Apart from green drains, the government plans an infusion of potted plants for the Commonwealth Games. “Our visitors will be greeted not with concrete but with five million potted plants in Delhi. These plants will be placed at various road intersections and stadiums. We are requesting the Parks and Gardens Society and city Resident Welfare Associations to act as nurseries for these plants,” Mehta said.

Meanwhile, Earth Hour would be celebrated on the last working day of the month. Residents and schools will be asked to switch off lights for an hour between 8.30 and 9.30 pm. The government will also do its bit and switch off lights of building and monuments.

The city came together to celebrate Earth Day. At the Yamuna Biodiversity Park in Wazirabad, students and children from the adjoining Jahangirpuri area were taken on a tour of the park and the concept of biodiversity and the Yamuna ecosystem was explained to them. The Energy and Resources Institute organised a paperbag-making contest over the past few weeks, in which 1.3 lakh bags were made at schools across India, Qatar, Oman and Singapore.

NGO Delhi Greens and Development Alternatives also launched the Delhi Environment Action Network (Delhi-EAN) in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

“This will be a network of concerned citizens of Delhi and various civil society organisations based or working in Delhi. We will address tree felling, the pitiable state of the Yamuna, the polythene mess and the transport crisis,” said Govind Singh of the Delhi-EAN.

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