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SC rebukes Haryana govt for throwing open Aravallis for realtors, miners

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation related issues.

 

SC rebukes Haryana govt for throwing open Aravallis for realtors, miners

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Spread and significance of Aravalis, features and amendments to PLPA.
  • For Mains: Concerns over the destruction of aravallis, need for a comprehensive conservation plan.

 

Context: The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the Haryana government for diluting laws protecting the Aravalli hills.

 

What’s the issue?

Haryana government recently pushed an amendment to Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA). It effectively strips protection under the act to areas under master plans of cities such as Gurugram, Faridabad, Nuh, Mahendragarh and Rewari.

The court has now ordered the government to not implement the amendment and reportedly said it was aware the move was to “favour the builders” and found it shocking that the government “went ahead despite our warning”.

 

Why Aravallis matters?

The Aravallis, one of the world’s oldest mountain chains, keeps the Thar desert from encroaching into Delhi and nearby territories.

  • The Aravallis in Haryana are home to over 400 species of native trees, shrubs and herbs, more than 200 native and migratory bird species, and wildlife that includes leopards, jackals, hyenas, mongoose and civet cats.
  • They are crucial to groundwater recharge, which is significant given the water scarcity the region faces during harsh summer months.
  • The thick forest cover helps to naturally purify air in a region plagued by high levels of vehicular and industrial pollution through the year.

 

Concerns:

  • The Wildlife Institute of India, in a 2017 report, had highlighted: “The forests of the Aravalli range in Haryana are now the most degraded forests in India, most of the indigenous plant species have disappeared.
  • The rapid deforestation and developmental activities are destroying the unique landscape that requires immediate conservation attention.
  • Unusual dust and thunderstorms, sometimes accompanied by hailstorms, ravaged Northern India — especially UP and Rajasthan — last year. Increasing and intensifying dust storms are a symptom of extended desertification.

 

Sources: down to earth.

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