When Manmohan Singh takes up residence at his new Motilal Nehru Place address tomorrow, he will be greeted by hundreds of bats and several other species of birds and mammals who are the old inhabitants of the property.
Situated on a sprawling three-acre plot in the heart of Lutyens Zone, the 3, Motilal Nehru Place bungalow is home to about 40 full-grown trees, including peepul, arjun, goolar, marorfalli, jamun, neem, mango and seemal, which in turn shelter about 60 species of birds and mammals.
"There are many bats residing on the property which includes the spacious Type-VIII bungalow. Although no count has been taken, the bats could number more than 200," said a senior CPWD official who was involved in getting the house ready for the outgoing prime minister and his family.
Commonly known as fruit bats or flying foxes, these creatures can be seen hanging from the trees inside the bungalow compound.
According to Delhi's Chief Wildlife Warden AK Shukla, "Bats can be found in Lutyens Zone as there are many old trees in the locality. However, no census has been done on the bat population yet."
Asked whether there was any plan on doing a bat census in the national capital, he said that although there was no official proposal at the moment, "some NGOs can be encouraged to do the census"
Besides bats, one can spot several varieties of birds such as green pigeon, mynah, koel, parakeet, owl, kingfisher and bulbul in the trees in the bungalow. There is also a small lotus pond in the spacious lawn.
While renovating the bungalow, CPWD was careful about not disturbing the flora and fauna of the property, which has been there since the time of its earlier occupant, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
In fact, Dikshit had made efforts to protect and enrich the ecology of the premises during her stay there, said Lima Rosalind, an environment expert who was involved in the Green Canopy Interpretation Programme for schoolchildren at the bungalow.
"The 3, Motilal Nehru Place bungalow has rich flora and fauna and a 'Nature Trail' was constructed along the wall of the bungalow to show various kinds of trees, shrubs and birds to the schoolchildren as part of the programme," said Rosalind, who has also written the book, 'Flora and Fauna at 3, Motilal Nehru Place'.
CPWD completely renovated and restored the bungalow by re-doing the entire flooring and pillars after Dikshit vacated the accommodation.
While all of his belongings have been shifted to his new address from the official 7, Race Course Road residence of the prime minister, Singh himself will be moving to the 3, Motilal Nehru Place bungalow on May 26, after attending the swearing- in ceremony of Narendra Modi.