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In the first week of March this year, the Haryana government has appealed to the Supreme Court to restart mining in the Aravallis. Legalising mining threatens the existence of these historic and environmentally vital hill ranges. Aravalli Bachao Citizens Movement is running an email campaign addressed to the Haryana government wherein citizens across India are writing to the Chief Minister and other MLAs and forest and administrative officials expressing their objections to the move to restart mining by the Haryana government and stating citizens demands for increasing the forest cover of Haryana and protecting the existing forests.
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SUBJECT: Citizens Object Government Move to Legalise Mining in Aravallis and Put Forth Demands to Protect Aravallis in Haryana
Haryana has the lowest forest cover in India, just 3.62%. Most of this is concentrated in the Aravalli hills in south Haryana and some in the Shivaliks in the north. Aravallis in Haryana have been under huge attack from illegal felling of trees, encroachments and dilution of protective forest laws such as the Punjab Land Preservation Act Amendment Bill.
Legalising mining in the Aravallis will lead to severe environmental impacts threatening the survival of millions of people living in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Delhi and the National Capital Region as well as the wildlife that calls these forests home. Mining has already destroyed 31 Aravalli hills out of a total of 128 in Rajasthan. 25% of the hill range has disappeared from the face of the earth!! Illegal sand and stone mining in Haryana Aravallis has not stopped for a day, even during the lockdown in 2020. Even in Aravalli areas which are not easily accessible, there are tractor trails for vehicles to illegally carry back truckloads of all kinds of stone during the night and early morning. Sand mining is at an all-time high on camel back in places like Bharadwaj Lake. Despite the ban on mining by the Supreme Court in Haryana Aravallis, damage done from illegal mining is clearly visible in the Aravalli belts of Pandala, Damdama, Sehjawas, Ghamroj, Mangar, Asola Bhatti etc.
Mining has resulted in large scale deforestation. Shrinking habitat in the Aravallis has forced wild animals like leopards, hyenas to venture into areas outside the forest in search of food and water leading to more cases of man-animal conflict. Another serious ecological impact of mining has been the puncturing of aquifers, which has disturbed the water flow and resulted in drying of many lakes and water bodies in Haryana and Rajasthan. Rivers like Banas, Luni, Sahibi, Indori and Sakhi, which originated in the Aravallis have disappeared.
Legalising mining in Haryana will destroy the Aravallis, which are critical to be preserved for the following reasons:
Citizens Demands to Protect Aravallis in Haryana: