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SC bars 4 states from granting fresh mining leases in Aravali

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SC bars 4 states from granting fresh mining leases in Aravali

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday prohibited Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi from awarding new mining leases in the damaged ecology of India’s oldest mountain range, expressing shock at the Haryana government’s claim that there is no precise description of places that qualify as the Aravali range. But the SC made it clear that this decision wouldn’t stop currently permitted mining operations.

To help with the creation of a uniform policy to protect the range that acts as a barrier against the spread of Thar desert to the northern plains, a bench of Justices B R Gavai and A S Oka also constituted a committee that included the secretary of the Union ministry of environment, forest, and climate change, the forest secretaries of the four states, and representatives from the Geographical Society of India, the Forest Survey of India, and the Central Empowered Committee. The committee’s goal was to define what exactly falls within the boundaries of Aravali. The SC listed the issue for a future hearing in July and requested that the committee deliver its findings within two months. The court has been concerned about the deterioration of Aravali since it established a special forest bench in 1985. It had been prohibited several times. commercial operations, sand mining, stone quarrying, and the controlled eradication of encroachments from the steep, wooded area. However, dishonest people carried on their illicit operations with the administration’s implicit approval.

To allow the government to halt mining spilling over into other regions and creating irreversible harm to the delicate ecosystem of the range, Amicus curiae K Parameshwar and senior counsel ADN Rao pushed for mapping the Aravali mining zones. While representing Haryana, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the SC that the state is in favour of mapping mining sites and gave his word that all directives from the SC regarding the preservation of Aravilli’s delicate environment will be followed to the letter.

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In the Aravali range, Parameshwar proposed a total prohibition on any form of mining activity. However, the bench stated that outright prohibiting mining is always ineffective.”

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