Saving The Hills – on Aravalli Range Verdict

Source: The post is based on an article “Saving the Hills” published in The Times of India on 23rd July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Ecology and Environment

Relevance: Aravalli Ranges Forest Area; National Capital Region; Natural Conservation Zone (NCZ) in NCR

News: The Supreme Court has given a verdict in which it declared that all land in Haryana covered under the Punjab Land Preservation Act will be treated as forest land.

Significance of the judgment

The verdict would end the false debate of development versus environment.

The verdict will protect the Aravalli ranges, one of the oldest mountain blocks in the world. The range also acts as the barrier against desertification of the breadbasket of India. The verdict has upheld the three decades of jurisprudence on the Aravalli range, which is a key feature of the National Capital Region (NCR).

The ruling will end decades of reckless destruction of the Aravalli range, by the real estate sector. This is validated by the fact that the three states Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, which form part of the NCR, have significantly lower forest cover than the national average of 21. 7%. Further, Haryana is the lowest at 3. 6%.

Consequences of the destruction of the natural ecosystem in India 

The destruction has already extracted a large economic and health cost in the NCR.

For Example, in 2013, the World Bank estimated that environmental destruction leads to an annual cost of India’s economic degradation of $80 billion or 5. 7% of the GDP.

Further, the lion’s share of this cost was on account of pollution because the pollution results in a significant mortality load among adults.


Print Friendly and PDF