Avtar Singh et al. June 26-July 9, 2009, Time Out Delhi
That a botanist would receive news of the felling of around 1,000 trees in Delhi with concern shouldn’t be surprising. But, since March of 2007, when all those trees were cut down in Delhi University’s North Campus, Govind Singh hasn’t exactly been wringing his hands. The Delhi Greens Blog was an outcome of the events of that month. That was a collaborative effort, and the blog survives. The organisation itself took shape and was registered in April 2008.
Since then, in May last year, Singh coordinated the Delhi Youth Summit on Climate, and Delhi Greens was associated with the public arts project 48c.Public.Art.Ecology late last year. They provided all the volunteers for the festival (around 80). Singh is particularly proud of the initiative that Delhi Greens came up with for the festival, the Urban Ecotour. “The underlying idea [of the tours] is to connect the people of Delhi back to the city,” he said. The tours themselves threw up urban situations of the most piquant sort, such as people who thought they knew the Connaught Place area being flummoxed when they saw Agrasen Ki Baoli, and hardened Dilliwalas admitting they’d never actually been down to the Yamuna. Outside Bhuli Bhatiyari Park (near Jhandewalan), some policemen tried to stop the group from entering. The people in the tour just waved the cops aside, to Singh’s delight, asserting their right to enter a “public space”. These tours have ceased for summer, but will be back once the weather improves.
His vision for Delhi Greens is intimately connected with his plans for Delhi’s future. Down the line, he wants to be part of an “effective urban planning watchdog”, working to ensure that “the only development Delhi witnesses is sustainable”. He’s committed to Delhi in the long term. As he said of this city, “I simply cannot think of an alternative – that exists or may ever exist!” The good news is that he’s currently studying Environmental Studies, right here at Delhi University. He’s serving his apprenticeship where he hopes to work, and that can only be a good thing.
Click here to read this news report on the Time Out Delhi’s website screenshot.