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No fresh Mining leases or renewals in Aravallis

  • Context (TH): The Supreme Court stopped the grant of fresh mining leases and renewals in the Aravalli ranges and hills.
  • The order covers Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat – the four States where the Aravallis reside.
  • The Forest Survey of India (FSI) report defined the Aravallis to include the hills and a uniform 100-metre-wide buffer zone around the mountain’s downsides.
  • There is no ban on legal mining activities carried out through valid permits and licences.
  • The Federation of Associations of Mining in Rajasthan had referred to the “cascading effect” a complete ban on mining would have on the livelihood of labourers.

About the Aravalli Range

  • Location: They stretch for a distance of about 720 km from Gujarat to Delhi, spanning Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Delhi.
  • Formation: The Aravallis date back millions of years when a pre-Indian subcontinent collided with the mainland Eurasian Plate.
  • Age: Carbon dating has shown that copper and other metals mined in the ranges date back to at least the 5th century BC.


  • The Aravallis of Northwestern India, one of the oldest fold mountains of the world, now form residual mountains with an elevation of 300m to 900m.
  • Guru Shikhar Peak on Mount Abu is the highest peak in the Aravalli Range (1,722 m).
  • It is formed primarily of a folded crust, where two convergent plates move towards each other through a process called orogenic movement.


  • The mountains are divided into two main rangesthe Sambhar Sirohi Range and the Sambhar Khetri Range in Rajasthan, which extend about 560 km.
  • The hidden limb of the Aravallis, which extends from Delhi to Haridwar, creates a divide between the drainage of the Ganga and the Indus rivers.

Their Significance

Checks Desertification

  • It acts as a natural barrier between the fertile plains in the east and the sandy desert in the west.
  • Historically, the Aravalli range prevented the Thar desert from encroaching on the Indo-Gangetic plains, acting as a catchment for rivers and plains.

Rich in Biodiversity

  • It provides habitat to 300 native plant species, 120 bird species, and many exclusive animals, such as the jackal and mongoose.

Impacts Climate

  • It has an impact on the climate of northwest India and beyond.
  • During monsoons, it acts as a barrier, redirecting monsoon clouds eastwards toward Shimla and Nainital, nurturing the sub-Himalayan rivers and feeding the north Indian plains.
  • The Aravalli is the only barrier blocking dry winds from Afghanistan and Pakistan from reaching the Gangetic plains. Losing it would invite the arid climate from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • In the winter months, it protects the fertile alluvial river valleys from the cold, westerly winds from Central Asia.

Recharges Groundwater

  • Aravallis also functions as a groundwater recharge zone for the regions around that absorb rainwater and revive the groundwater level.

Checks Pollution

  • This range is considered the “lungs” for the polluted air of Delhi–National Capital Region (NCR).
  • For Haryana, with the lowest forest cover at about 3.59% of India’s total, the Aravalli range is its primary source, providing the majority of its forest cover (2017 Report).


  • The Aravalli hills are an ecologically sensitive zone but have for years borne the brunt of quarrying and environmental degradation.
  • A 2018 report by a SC-appointed Committee found that 25% of the Aravalli range has been lost due to illegal mining in Rajasthan since 1967-68.
  • The mining has destroyed aquifers and deforested them. Many rivers originating in the Aravalli, such as Banas, Luni, Sahibi, and Sakhi, are now dead.

Steps Taken

  • Mining in the Aravalli region has been banned since 2002 under the SC orders unless expressly permitted by the Union Environment Ministry. However, mining continues illegally.
  • The green wall is being planned from Porbandar to Panipat, which will help in restoring degraded land through afforestation along the Aravali hill range.

Aravalli Green Wall Project - PMF IAS

Credit: TOI

  • Ecologists, residents, and volunteers from iamgurgaon collaborated to create a self-sustaining Aravalli, showcasing a community-driven model for combating degradation.
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