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December 07, 2017
11 months

Why in news?

A study found that deforestation of the Aravalli range leads to the expansion of the Thar Desert towards Delhi and Haryana.

What is the present state of Aravalli range?

  • Recent study spotted about a dozen well-marked gaps in the Aravallis where the forest cover has almost totally vanished.
  • The protective belt is now facing disintegration due to felling of trees to make room for urbanisation and mining projects.
  • The area under human settlements on these hills has expanded from 247 sq km in 1980 to 638 sq km in 2016.
  • Industries, which were almost non-existent in 1980, now occupy about 46 sq km.

What are the actions taken for conservation of Aravallis?

  • The National Conservation Zone (NCZ), as defined in the Delhi NCR Regional Plan 2021, covers the entire Aravalli range.
  • It includes its forests, water bodies and groundwater recharge areas.
  • In this zone, construction is allowed only on 0.5 per cent of the area and that too only for regional parks and sanctuaries.
  • Construction for commercial, residential, tourism and real estate purposes is strictly barred.

What are the concerns with conservation policies?

  • The stakeholder states shows indecisiveness towards stopping or reversing the damage being done to the range.
  • Haryana state government raises a dispute over demarcation of aravalli range in its state, citing the notification issued by the environment ministry.
  • It is done with the clear intention of restricting remedial action to stretches in Gurugram alone.
  • The stand is hard to justify since rejuvenation action is needed in the whole of the Aravallis.
  • Haryana’s non-cooperation in respecting the NCZ can prove costly for it as well as its neighbours.

What are the impacts of degrading Aravallis?

  • Loss of vegetative cover will lead to the natural drifting of Thar Desert towards the northwest.
  • Increased desertification of the National Capital Region (NCR) and its adjoining areas can lead to more environmental hazards.
  • These include more dust in the air, greater unpredictability of climate, meagre recharging of groundwater, and drying up of several natural water bodies.
  • The area under perennial water courses in this region has contracted by nearly one-third and that under seasonal water flows by an even more alarming 97 per cent.
  • Groundwater resources of urban hub of Gurugram are under severe strain.

Quick Recap

Aravalli Range

  • It is a range of mountains running in North West direction between Delhi and Palanpur in Gujarat.
  • It constitutes a vital corridor between Asola Bhatti Sanctuary in Delhi and Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.
  • The 700km long range and its thick forest cover protects National Captial Region and fertile plains of India from effects of Desert.


Source: Business Standard

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