Hry to map Aravali areas damaged by mining, draft action plan likely this mth

  • | Saturday | 9th December, 2023

GURGAON: Haryanas Aravali districts will map out areas damaged by illegal mining, the first step in coming up with an action plan that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has been asking for to protect and revive the ancient hill range.The tribunal last month expressed its frustration with the Haryana government, saying that authorities were not taking the benchs orders seriously to crack down on mining and plan ways to protect the hills.The forest and mining departments will map areas that have suffered most damage from stone mining and come up with a preliminary plan to reclaim and restore the land. They will also take assistance from experts on how to go about the process. The draft action plan for Gurgaon, Nuh, Faridabad, Rewari, Mahendergarh, Charkhi Dadri and Bhiwani will be unveiled by December 16, officials said on Thursday. We are first mapping out areas in the Aravalis that are affected by mining. We will devise a plan to restore these areas thereafter, said Rajeev Tajyan, divisional forest officer, Gurgaon.The action plan will include ways to shield the Aravalis from mining in the future.In 2009, the Supreme Court imposed a blanket ban on mining of the hills in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Nuh, but lack of enforcement has allowed illegal quarrying of stones, the bulk of which are used by the construction industry.We had a brain-storming meeting on December 6, and it was decided that departments that are responsible for restoring the Aravalis will work together to create the action plan. Before that, an SoP will be made and it will be guided by experts, so all the six districts have a common plan. It will also include a timeline and this template will be shared by experts with every district by December 10, said P Raghavendra Rao, chairperson of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).Once the draft is ready, it will be sent to a state-level HSPCB committee headed by Dr Babu Ram, the Haryana governments technical expert. He will look into it and if any modification is required, it will be done by the committee, Rao said.The final action plan, the HSPCB chief said, is likely to be finalised in January. We are not hurrying into the process. It might take some time to include all aspects – conserving biodiversity, filling up abandoned mining pits, and so on. We expect a detailed plan by the first week of January and well ensure it can be amended if needed in the future, he added.Linked to the construction industry, quarrying of sand and stones is a lucrative business that operates through an entrenched network of miners and locals. It threatens the Aravalis in Haryana with the same fate as that of large parts of the hills in Rajasthan that have been flattened by mining over the years. The hills are the only barrier stopping the expansion of the desert from Rajasthan towards the urban sprawl of north India, including Delhi-NCR.In November last year, a committee set up by NGT had said there were 38 illegal mining sites in the Aravalis of Gurgaon and Nuh based on FIRs filed over the years. Some of these, it had said, had fresh signs of stone quarrying.The Haryana government, in its submission to the tribunal on July 17, said it had formed the Aravalli Rejuvenation Board to deal with complaints on illegal mining and protecting the hills. In this report, the government also said steps were being taken to deploy drones and install CCTV cameras for surveillance, but these are still on paper. Besides that, an Aravali task force – announced by the government years ago – is yet to be formed.The idea should be to prepare a holistic plan that should include development of watersheds, and habitat for birds, insects and animals. It needs to have details on how to improve vegetation too. Historical data should be studied properly to know what kind of plants thrived in the Aravalis, said wildlife researcher Dr Sumit Dookia, one of the experts who will help the districts come up with an SOP for the action plan.

If You Like This Story, Support NYOOOZ



Your support to NYOOOZ will help us to continue create and publish news for and from smaller cities, which also need equal voice as much as citizens living in bigger cities have through mainstream media organizations.

Stay updated with all the Latest Faridabad headlines here. For more exclusive & live news updates from all around India, stay connected with NYOOOZ.

Related Articles