The Rajasthan Government has received strict orders from the Supreme Court on Tuesday to stop illegal mining in Aravalli hills within 48 hours.
A two-judge bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said, “We’re compelled to pass order on illegal mining in Aravalli hills because Rajasthan has taken issue very lightly.”
The SC mentioned that a central empowered committee report found that over 31 hills or hillocks have disappeared in the Aravalli area of the state. It ordered the state government to stop illegal mining in a 115.34-hectare area in Aravalli hills.
Earlier, a Comptroller and Auditor General report mentioned that they have encountered violation of rules and regulations. The state has not complied to the SC’s direction to stop degradation of environment in the hills.
#JUSTIN | SC directs Rajasthan government to close mining operation in 115 hectares in Aravali region within 48 hours and directs Chief Secretary to file affidavit after complying with its order
— Times of India (@timesofindia) October 23, 2018
It also noted that they found inadequacies in preventive measures as well as in the follow-up of the illegal mining cases. The state has not implemented the policy measures framed in 2011 for curbing illegal mining. The CAG has pulled up the State government for the illegal mining and pointed that the Mines Department could recover only Rs. 25.57 crore against the total recoverable amount of Rs. 204.50 crore. About 98.87 lakh tonnes of minerals worth Rs. 204.5 crore were illegally excavated in five districts of Rajasthan between 2011-12 and 2016-17.
In June, drone mapping of two villages took place in the first phase to check encroachment or illegal activities in the Aravallis. Sand-laden trucks were spotted but they fled before the mapping teams could get hold of the sand miners.
Mining activity and urbanisation have denuded and degraded the Aravallis. Aravallis are one of richest hill ranges in mineral wealth in India. Over 70 minerals are found here including zinc, tungsten, gypsum, asbestos, silver, lead, cadmium, etc. The massive mining posse a threat of extinction to the Aravallis in Rajasthan. The hills are in dire need of legal protection.