Development is a gradual process. With the interaction of the mankind and the resources before them, mankind takes into account the various possibilities by which they can fulfil their rapacity and exploit what’s already available to them. Despite being familiar with the repercussions of the damage caused to the environment, the process of development is subjected to uncovered scams and illegal practices. When the balance of nature is disturbed, the consequences are detrimental. For the prosperity of society, our environment must be healthy and preserved.
The inexplicable increase in the rate of mining in the name of development has resulted in several problems related to the environment’s and our own health hazards. On one hand, mining has resulted in development in all spheres of growth, while on the other, it has been seen as a threat to the biodiversity.
In 2004, a Supreme Court order banned mining in many parts of the Aravalli Range, but it was blatantly violated by illegal miners with the connivance of the government that turned a blind eye. The mining mafia operated illegally, digging out stones to be cut into slabs and ground, to gravel and sand to feed the hungry ever-expanding real estate in the National Capital Region of Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad.
In May 2009, it extended the ban to an area of 448 km, stretching across the Faridabad, Gurugram and Mewat districts of Haryana. However, despite the order of the Supreme Court, illegal mining in the Aravalli Range didn’t cease. In August 2020, the SC ordered Haryana authorities to stop road construction in the ecologically sensitive zone of Aravalli hills. Its order came after a media report exposed the illegal flattening of Aravalli hills to build a road to farmhouses in Bandhwari near the Gurgaon-Faridabad road in Haryana. The disturbing ecological balance in an already emaciated landscape around Aravalli continues to threaten the life of millions affected by it.
In response to the violation of several environmental norms in this sensitive forested zone, we may conclude that the nexus between politicians, contactors and bureaucrats is very strong. They mint money with construction. Politicians put pressure on bureaucrats, who find these opportunities lucrative.
There was one officer who earned so much money during his tenure that he later involved himself directly in the mining activity. The Court has ordered mining to be stopped several times, but the government is not keen. All politicians have a stake in the mining business, as it funds their election campaigns.
Legal experts and activists allege that bureaucrats and politicians constantly try to make way for real estate and construction companies in environmentally dangerous zone. The poor implementation of the Court orders’ by the government, unrestrained construction and those having political motives have broken the Aravalli Range beyond repair.
The overwhelming economic gains associated with mining and the never-satiated urge of humans to extract resources from nature, even at the cost of its destruction, is affecting the gravity of the situation. The Aravalli Range is a bio-diverse and ecologically important zone. Besides acting as a natural barrier between the expansion of the Thar Desert to the Gangetic Plains, it also protects parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi from dust, pollution and sand storms, and defines the watershed for the National Capital Region.
In addition to this, the Aravalli Range has rich reserves of rose-coloured quartz, zinc, copper, lead, rock phosphate, gypsum, marble, soapstone and silica sand, popularly known as Badarpur sand in the construction industry.
The need for the conservation of the Aravalli Range is acute and needs our immediate attention. It is necessary to implement the various orders given by the highest court of appeal and have restrained construction/put an end to the illegal mining activity being done there. Serious action needs to be taken to enforce the laws and restore the beauty of the nature.
The environment is a gift to us, making it our prime duty to ensure it is well-maintained and looked after. Nothing can be done unless each one of us, perhaps the ordinary people, decide to come together and put an end to the over-exploitation being done by our own, selfish hands.
Environmental issues have been on the political radar for over 50 years, and while the magnitude of expected impacts has hit an all-time high, predictions for the future course and effects of environmental degradation were not as promising decades ago as they are today. The effect that humanity is having on the environment is becoming ever-more important. Through our actions, we are destroying habitats and endangering the lives of future generations.