| The green expanse on the southwestern side of Rajdhani Vatika in Patna. The state forests department is planning to acquire this land for the expansion of the park. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Rajdhani Vatika would have more open spaces and greenery on its premises if the forests department gives its nod to an expansion plan along the park’s southwestern boundary.
The plan to expand the eco park by around five acres was sent to the forests department for approval around a month ago. The department is the custodian of Rajdhani Vatika.
Patna divisional forests officer (DFO) Surendra Singh told The Telegraph on Thursday: “We have identified a 20,000sqm (4.94 acres) land along the southwestern boundary of the eco-park. A survey of the land, which stretches from east to west along the Hardinge Road, has been conducted. There is also a plan to cover a drain that flows on this stretch of land. We intend to do landscaping and develop several other facilities for the visitors on the proposed expanded portion of the park.”
Rajdhani Vatika is at present divided into two parts — a 12-acre area in the north and nine acres in the south.
Singh added: “A preliminary project report has been sent to the state department of forests and environment for approval. The department would subsequently move ahead with the acquisition of the land. It is only after the acquisition that we would prepare a detailed project report for the proposed expansion.”
Senior officers of the forests department acknowledged the availability of the 4.94-acre land and plans to cover the drain.
“There is vacant land near the drain along the south-western boundary of the eco-park. It probably belongs to the revenue department. Plan to cover the drain has been discussed at various levels and is under the consideration of the forests department,” said B.A. Khan, the principal chief conservator of forests, Bihar.
DFO Singh also said: “We are installing decorative lights and several new benches around the pond. This would ensure that the visitors have a comfortable time in the evening. Moreover, we would also do landscaping around the pond and on the park premises.”
The forests department is also mulling to clean the water in the pond inside the park premises through vermifiltration, a cost-effective technology for water treatment using earthworms. Rajiv Kumar Sinha, a senior faculty member of environmental engineering from Griffith School of Engineering, Brisbane, Australia, had recently proposed to clean the pond water with the technology.
The pond is spread over an acre and visitors can enjoy boating facilities.
The average monthly footfall at Rajdhani Vatika is around 60,000. The park also has a two-km-long jogging track and a platform where residents can practice yoga. The park, which was inaugurated by chief minister Nitish Kumar around two years ago, has more than 2,000 plants. Most of them are still saplings and would need more than five years to grow.