Supreme Court bans mining in Aravalli Ranges
20 February 2010
The Supreme Court yesterday ordered closure of 157 mines in the Aravalli Ranges, whose applications for renewal of lease have been pending with the Rajasthan government.
A Bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices S H Kapadia and Aftab Alam also ordered satellite imaging of the Aravalli Ranges spread over a 50,000km area in 15 districts.
Illegal mining in the Aravali hills came under the apex court's scanner after the Haryana and Rajasthan governments asked for renewal of mining for construction stone. However, environmentalists opposed the plan, saying that it would be an environmental disaster if the mines were allowed to continue operating in the region.
In fact the mining companies have been violating the rules, allegedly paying off the police and government officials, NDTV reported.
The Aravalli Ranges are one of the most ancient mountain ranges in India that lie in the north-western part of the country, approximately 800km from north east to south west across states of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Gujarat and Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh..
The Aravali hills, rich in mineral resources, have witnessed years of illegal mining, which have led to their fast erosion.
This also poses a grave environmental concern as the ranges form a natural barrier against the spread of the Thar desert northwards into the Gangetic plains in the Gangetic basin and Gujarat.