Natural Heritage First is a group of citizens, concerned with the depletion of our living natural resources in our city. We started with a campaign to protect the Vasant Vihar Mahipal Pur ridge forest in South Delhi in 1995 when Vikram Soni and Deshdeep Sahdev filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court to stop a road being built by the DDA through this ridge forest. The defining member of the group has been Prof.. Vikram Soni, who is a research scientist with the National Physical Laboratory, and a leading figure in all our campaigns since beginning. His biggest contribution has been the preparation of a knowledge base before any campaign was taken up.
Distinguished senior journalist Kuldeep Nayar has been one of the pillars of this group and a public face for the movement. His contributions have pushed the authorities to listen. The group of Prof. Soni, Mr. Kuldeep Nayar, Prof..Deshdeep Sehdev (of IIT Kanpur) and others were known by the acronym, CPQLW (Citizens for Preservation of Quarries and Lakes Wilderness). The PIL filed by ‘CPQLW’ led to the cancellation of the International Hotels Complex Project on the ridge. CPQLW supported by other individuals and NGOs under the banner NGO Forum raised one of the most active environmental movements in the city of Delhi. As a consequence, 223 hectares of pristine ridge forest area in Vasant Vihar- Mahipal Pur region is protected today as a Bio-diversity Park, which otherwise would have been buried under the concrete of 13 luxury hotels.
2004 saw some youth energy with Diwan Singh and others joining the group. Diwan Singh alongwith supporting individuals and NGOs formed Ridge Bachao Andolan. to fight the auction of Vasant Kunj Ridge forest to Mall developers.
In 2007, not yet fully free from the Save Ridge campaign, we faced another challenge, finding that the Government was building Common Wealth Games village on the flood plains of Yamuna river in Delhi. Starting the campaign in Jan, 2007, it went on long till 2009, achieving a moratorium on further constructions on flood plains, with projects worth billions being dropped. We gained many partners in process, particularly Tarun Bharat Sangh, Youth for Justice, People’s action, URJA and farrners of Yamuna Khadar.
Presently, the group( see below) is active in the campaign to save the Yamuna Floodplains, the ridge forest and in protecting the citizens of Delhi by seeking enlightened modifications to the Master Plan of Delhi-2021.
Natural Heritage First is now engaged in creating ecological , Preserve and Use Schemes for natural water storage in the Yamuna Floodplains and drawing pure mineral water from the Ridge in Delhi and many other creative non invasive solutions. These schemes provide services worth billions of dollars each year.
See details in works and achievements.