The oldest mountain range in India, the Aravallis is an approximately 800-km-long mountain range which is spread across Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Aravallis used to have thick forest cover, which has dwindled over time.
Mining has been an active industry in the Aravallis since 5th century BC. But as per the Ecologically Sensitive Areas clauses of Indian laws, in 1992, a ban on mining was imposed in some areas of the hills. Later, in 2009, the Supreme Court of India imposed a blanket ban on all the mining activities over 448 square km area in the districts of Haryana, including Gurgaon, Mewat and Faridabad. The court also stated that the change in order for fresh mining will come only after the government of Haryana and the Union minister come up with an action plan.
The government of Haryana made a plan in July 2013 and early this year a decision was made by the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB), which approved the construction of 0.5% except with the approval of competent forest and environment authorities, for recreational activities (including tourism) can take place in the hills. It also stated that the construction will be allowed in the natural conservation zones (NCZ). The Aravallis is a part of NCZ as it is a natural groundwater recharge zone for Delhi and Haryana. But the question to ask is, how can the word except be defined in this proposal? Except indicates that in case approval is granted, construction is allowed. This signifies that it may result in large-scale construction as both residential and commercial construction in tourism areas is allowed as per the tourism policy of Haryana. This sheds light on the loopholes of policies of the government. Or will it be right to say that the government itself is in favour of these constructions just to gain profits?
The Haryana government has not taken any steps to protect the region. It has not even set the boundaries and protected areas around the hills. The state government owns the authorities for granting permissions related to real estate projects in the forest and environment regions. It is essential that the Aravallis be protected and saved. This oldest mountain system in the world has a significance of its own. It has some of the oldest surviving trees in the region, which need to be preserved. These trees belong to certain species which contribute to ground water recharge. They are important from the bio-diversity perspective. The government of Haryana is required to take necessary steps to protect and save the Aravallis. Mining and construction in this region should be completely banned as they are disturbing the ecological balance of the region. The government has to stop illegal mining in the hills, which can be done by not granting licence to private and individual miners. The Aravallis is a natural heritage of Haryana and it is essential that it is protected and preserved, especially for the sake of our future generations. Naya Haryana will not let it deplete and will make all the possible efforts to save and protect it.