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Issue 12
, 2009
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The Aravalis in danger

Source: The Tribune, New Delhi, Date: , 2009

Danger to the whatever is left of the Aravali Hills has become a big issue. The Supreme Court is even contemplating a complete ban on miningmining in the Aravali hill areas of Faridabad and Gurgaon districts. Hearing a case pertaining to mining around Satluj riverbed, the Punjab and Haryana High Court division bench stated that perhaps a vigilance probe was the best way to fix accountability. This is not the first time the courts have rapped state governments who have repeatedly turned a blind eye to illegal mining activity. Last month alone, in 20 villages in Mewat district, the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling was reportedly being flouted. The judiciary’s proactive role in the issue, which has far reaching effects on the environment, is laudable. Sadly, it has not been matched by government action. After blatantly ignoring the norms for over a decade, the Haryana government has in principle agreed to abide by the Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee’s recommendations. Whether it delivers on the promise remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the Punjab government would do well to learn lessons from Haryana where indiscriminate mining has sounded the death-knell of many water-bodies and also endangered the fragile ecosystem of the Aravali range. In Jaipur, the heart of the Aravali range, hills have been flattened. According to environmentalists if Aravali range, one of oldest mountain ranges is not protected, North India is likely to
become one big desert. The state governments not only need to work beyond vested interests but also state borders. The environment is both a collective legacy of the people and a joint responsibility of the state governments which must discharge it with honesty.