Save The Jahapanah Forest Of South Delhi

Jahanpanah , meaning the “Refuge of the World” was the fourth city of Delhi founded by  Mohammed bin Tughlaq. Though there are hardly any remnants of the new city  built by Tughlaq worth mentioning  , the forest itself is the much needed “Green Lungs” in the midst of the gasping populace living in the adjoining areas.

It was on 10.04.1980, through a notification by the Development Department Delhi Administration in Delhi Gazette, Jahanpanah City Forest was declared as a protected forest area under Section 29 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and the boundaries of Jahanpanah City Forest were demarcated.

Jahanpanh Forest , covering an area of 435 acres, is full of rich and some very rare Flora and Fauna,  but unfortunately the jungle and its denizens  themselves are at the receiving end and chocking and gasping due to the apathy of the very populace it provides  fresh oxygen .

Though several writs have been filed on various dates over the years , and though  the Hon’ble Supreme Court had also recorded on behalf of the various stakeholders like DDA, Horticultural Department and Delhi Police against felling of healthy trees, clear the forest area of any unauthorised encroachments, against dumping of garbage and plastics, against any  activity of criminal or unlawful nature that can endanger the flora and fauna  in the forest , there had been  activities of exactly the same nature against which all those writs were filed in the court . 

Call it the lackadaisical attitude on the part of the  custodians of the forest combined with apathetic attitude and lack of  general awareness of the public , the forest is on its way to dying a slow and painful death .Incidents of unauthorised felling of trees,  a major fire in 2013 destroying a portion of the forest, rampant encroachment by breaching the boundary walls surrounding the forest and rampant dumping of malba and plastics giving a sleepless night to the “ Friends of Jahanpanah Forest“


A contempt petition was filed in Supreme Court of India in 2003 by Friends of Jahanpanah City Forest against the official stake holders of the above forest and upon the final hearing , the Hon’ble court made the following order  for constituting a committee with the representatives of DDA, Ministry of Environment  and Forest , Delhi , Suptd. Engineer ( DDA) Civil, besides other official depts to look after the welfare of this forest. 

Mr. S.M Agarwal , IES ( retd), President , Friends of Jahanpanah City Forest , GK-II was also made a member of the monitoring committee to look after the welfare of the forest. Still , at his age of 92 yrs , he has been ceaselessly working and coordinating with the various officials / stakeholders to look after the health of this forest. Though as we all know, it is an uphill task to battle the united forces of  people within the system  with vested interests where large amount of funding is involved , Mr. Agarwal has managed to save the public exchequer quite an sizable amount of money  that the officials would have expended towards commercialisation in the forest in the garb of beautification and automation and various other schemes that would have completely destroyed the only GREEN LUNGS in our back yard. 

To assist Mr. Agarwal In his battle to save this forest , a group of like mined people consisting of lawers, businessmen, retd. IAS officers and govt officials, educationists etc   who were a regular visitors at Jahanpanah formed a group with a specific purpose and named it SAVE JAHANPANAH  FOREST  , once again headed by Sh. S.M. Agarwal .

Save Jahanpanah Forest group  engages in various cleaning and plantation drives inside the forest besides engaging with  the various stakeholders whenever  required or called for to discuss the various initiatives the officials want to undertake in the forest.