[mpisgmedia] Dikshit-inaugurated projects in the ridge (Mehrauli and Asola)

Weekend news reports about the mandi that Ms Dikshit
inaugurated on 22/02/05 said it was not working:
> Kisan haat: where are the farmers? (Express Newline,
> Haat of the matter (Times of India, 10/04/05)

The reports did not mention that the mandi is in
Mehrauli ridge and was graced by chief-ministerial
inauguration on eve of hearing by High Court of one of
the (at least) two matters in which the oddity is
challenged. Another ridge project graced by CM
inauguration shortly afterwards is an NGO centre in
Asola Sanctuary, about which I received the following
by pvt eml:

With the news of Sheila Dixits' inauguration of the
introduction of Bombay Natural History Society into
the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary in the papers, we at
Wildrift Adventures decided to visit the sanctuary to
see what was being offered. We have been on the look
out for sometime for locations around Delhi to take
schools that visit our camps and want regular follow
ups around Delhi.

The BNHS office is located in the forest office
building inside the Sanctuary. The main entrance is a
bit confusing since one can never guess that this is
the forest office and the reception area is filled
with large digital mounted printouts of regular
wildlife and Sanctuary related pictures. The reception
area then opens into the BNHS office (the reception
area is also manned by BHNS).

At the office we met Ms. Manisha, who was the BHNS
representative for the day. She was greatly interested
by our proposal of bringing our school children to the
Asola Sanctuary and told about the four trails they
had marked in the sanctuary each one km long on which
they took the children on walks. She told us that the
children would first be taken through the digital
printouts followed by a walk on the trails and then a
slide show in the forest office's auditorium. For all
this they would charge Rs.50 per kid. The kids would
have to bring their own water and food. She suggested
the possibility of canteen they would soon open.

She then volunteered to take us on tour to the trails.
The trails were marked with 'chuna' on rocks on either
side of the path. At the junction there were two huts
that had been constructed to hold talks after the
walks (though she had initially denied any
construction had been made when we had questioned her
about the same in the office). Another fibre glass and
iron hut has been made near the black buck enclosure
to view the black bucks!

On enquiring that could they not offer an overnight
camp in the Sanctuary she said that it would be very
dangerous to do so. The danger she further clarified
(much to our surprise) would be from the villagers
around the Sanctuary. It still beats us how. We have
been working with villagers at the camps in
Uttaranchal and now they own or run (in partnerships
with us) most of our operations better than us and we
believe that it could not have been a better deal for
us. We are surprised because we have never felt safer.


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