Aravali hills vanish, SC shocked; experts blame rampant mining

JAIPUR: Believe it or not, Aravalis — one of oldest ranges in the world — remain undefined till date, leading to its steady depletion.

editorial@tribune.com

Jaipur, November 11

Believe it or not, Aravalis — one of oldest ranges in the world — remain undefined till date, leading to its steady depletion. The Supreme Court recently expressed shock and surprise over how 31 Aravali hills have vanished in Rajasthan with Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta observing: “Humans seem to be flying away with hills just like Hanuman.”

Environmentalists, bureaucrats and forest officers cite one reason for the destruction of the Aravalis — the territory remains undefined. According to an official from the Rajasthan Mining Department, a complete hill range has been split into two parts, Aravali and non-Aravali, posing a challenge to policymakers.

In 2002, a committee formed by the Director of Mines defined that any hill above a 100 metre slope shall be Aravali and anything less shall not be Aravali. “This differentiation is surprising,” said an official. “How can a hill chain spread over thousands of kilometres be isolated from one another depending on the height?” Another official from the department said this demarcation had given room to illegal miners who had taken to rampant mining.

JK Upadhyay, Director of the Department of Mines and Geology, says 31 hills have vanished from Rajasthan, depleted between 1955 and 2018. He wants a policy with a formula balancing between nature restoration and development. Renowned environmentalist Harshwardhan says it is an irony that the Rajasthan authorities are unable to outline which is the reserved Aravali region in Rajasthan or neighbouring Haryana.

A senior architect associated with prestigious government projects says the Aravali hills have been exploited for money. He alleges that some government servants are hand in glove with private entities to mint money from the hills. BS Nathwat, a retired official, insists that a proper classification of the hills is a must to preserve these. — IANS

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