Illegal mining and real estate projects batter the 2.5 billion years old mountain range in just 40 years
The Aravalli mountain range that spans four states — Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi — was never continuous, but mining and construction activities have made it even more broken. These two hills in Tijara village of Rajasthan were a monolith just a decade ago, but stone mining has destroyed them. Photo: Vikas Choudhary; Text: Pranay Lal
Of 128 hills/hillocks of Alwar district in Rajasthan that were sampled from the total 2,269, it was observed that 31 hills/hillocks have vanished from the time the Survey of India topographic sheets were prepared in 1967-68, says the 2018 Central Empowered Committee report. The gaps were recorded by satellite pictures and verified on the ground. Photo: Vikas Choudhary; Text: Pranay Lal
Degradation of Aravallis is also evident in the loss of forest cover. During 1972-75, the Aravalli districts in Rajasthan recorded 10,462 sq km of area under various categories of forest. By 1981-84, the forest cover reduced to 6,116 sq km, says a 2018 report by Delhi-based Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies. Photo: Vikas Choudhary; Text: Pranay Lal
Illegal stone quarries in Sonha town of Haryana have caused permanent damage to the Aravallis. Of the state’s 22 districts, Aravallis are present in Mewat, Faridabad, Gurugram, Mahendragarh and Rewari, all of which are currently, or were till recently, heavily mined and have undergone rapid developmental and construction activities. Photo: Vikas Choudhary; Text: Pranay Lal
By destroying the world’s oldest mountain range by mining its rocks, excavating its soils, cutting the trees that precariously hold a thin soil cover, or senselessly extracting the ancient water channels, we risk much more than we can even begin to fathom. Photo: Vikas Choudhary; Text: Pranay Lal
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