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Digging Deep into the Aravalli

Over the last approximately 20 years, excessive mining in the Aravali hills has virtually led to a disappearance according to a recent research done by the Central University of Rajasthan. The Aravlis go across the states of Haryana and Rajasthan. The study was contextualised in Naraina, Kilwar, Kotputli, Jhalana and Sariska, with heights of 200 to 600 meters above sea level. This disappearance of the Aravalis, is leading to more dust storms and desertification in the Delhi-NCR region, as these were the very barriers that prevented these sandstorms coming from the Thar.

In 2018, such mining was banned in compliance with the ruling of retired SC Judge, Justice Madan Lokur. This was the second time such a step had been taken since 2002 but such mining continues to happen. Justice Lokur states that the State Government of Rajasthan gets royalty of 5000 crores from legal mining that happens in the Aravalis. He further elaborate on his stance, by stating that mining should not be at the cost of the people in the vicinity and that controlled/supervised mining should be looked into.

Is supervised mining, however, going to solve the environmental degradation that the Aravalis are subject to? Desertification is only one of the issues, these activities are effectively ruining pastoral land as well as irrigation and potable drinking water facilities for the neighbouring villages, making inhabitancy in itself a huge issue. River Kasvati was on the brink of extinction. Homes have cracks and individuals, multiple dust related diseases. Let us not forget that over 10,000 houses were demolished in Khori, district Faridabad, causing immense distress to working class people, in the name of removing encroachments; in addition to the terrible working conditions these labourers are subject to.

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