CURRENT ISSUES OF ARAVALLIS IN RAJASTHAN AND CITIZENS ASKS FROM THE GOVERNMENT
1) UNCHECKED TOURISM THREATENING WILDLIFE IN JAWAI
Bera village in the Jawai dam area in Rajasthan is a wildlife lover’s dream. It is home to more than 200 species of birds, including pelicans, greylag geese, robin accentors, demoiselle cranes, peacocks and Indian partridges. Crocodiles, some as large as 15 feet, float in the Jawai Dam, built by the former Maharaja of Jodhpur, Umaid Singh. But what makes Bera truly unique is that it is perhaps the only natural environment on Earth where leopards – one of India’s most feared predators – and humans have lived harmoniously for more than a century. This Aravalli area has the highest concentration of leopards on the planet.
However, all is not well and this rich biodiversity is in danger due to impacts of commercialization & over exploitation of water which results in the water of the Jawai dam to almost finish at the onset of the summer season which poses a huge risk to the wildlife.
Bera and all the other villages around Jawai dam in the Pali district, 130 kms from Jodhpur are open wildlife sanctuaries and home to critically endangered species. This wildlife is being threatened by way of excessive, unchecked and irresponsible tourism. Tourists leave behind heaps of waste with no laws to manage the waste and no social responsibility on the part of the hoteliers. The large number of resorts and hotels operating in the villages around Jawai dam have dug deep borewells for their toilets and swimming pools but have not invested in getting rain water harvesting and recharge structures. Safari operators take the tourist jeeps deep into the eco-sensitive Aravalli areas with no regard for wildlife safety and privacy. Privatization of land close to the leopard caves have turned this pristine ecosystem into a private zoo.
#SaveJawai is a campaign to educate the people and provide suggestions so that the authorities take notice and act before it is too late.
We urge you to amplify this message, sign and help get as many signatures on this petition to make the policy makers act.
1) Government needs to make strict policies to regulate water use, tourism and wildlife safaris in the area. People cannot be disturbing the leopards by jeeps driving to their caves.
2) This entire area thriving in wildlife needs to be declared a protected wildlife zone where unchecked tourism without any rules and regulations cannot go on.
3) All hotels owners and landlords need to do compulsory ground water recharge so the waters in the Jawai dam remain intact.
4) It must be made mandatory that all resorts, hotels, jungle safaris, campsites do CSR activity in the local area to remove the plastic waste, increase the ground water table, carry out afforestation projects etc.
2) MINING IN ARAVALLIS
80% of the Aravalli range – around 550 kilometres of its length is in Rajasthan. Rajasthan government has allowed mining in the Aravallis under “legal safeguards”. But the mine operators flout all environment rules. Illegal mining is taking place in Rajasthan on a scale even larger than that of legal mining operations. A 2018 report by the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) says that 25 per cent of the Aravalli range has been lost due to illegal mining in Rajasthan. Of the 128 hills of Alwar district in Rajasthan that were sampled from a total of 2269 hills, it was observed that 31 Aravalli hills have vanished from the time the Survey of India topographic sheets were prepared in 1967-68, says the CEC report.
Mining is causing irreversible damage in the Aravalli belt in Rajasthan. People are left without groundwater since the miners have taken all the water out of the ground. The crushing units create so must dust pollution that locals are suffering from asthma, tuberculosis, silicosis and other diseases. Agriculture is adversely affected as dust settles on the vegetation. Kailash Meena, a resident of Neem Ka Thana area in Sikar district told the Aravalli Bachao Team in December 2021, “Crushing units have been put on the Kasawati river. This is completely illegal. This action has killed the river. The forest that you see behind is the Baleshwar forest which is home to many leapords. 2 leapords died in this forest in December 2021. These leapords are hugely threatened due to the operation of these crushing units so close to their habitat.”
1) Since the Rajasthan state government is failing to protect the Aravallis and the mining mafia is destroying one hill after another, an independent Aravalli Protection Authority must be constituted for protection of the entire Aravalli range across the 4 states of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
2) Mining across the Aravalli range in Rajasthan needs to be banned and native plantation & restoration activities must be done in all areas that have been degraded due to mining.
3) Strict action needs to be taken against the mining mafia carrying out illegal felling of trees and mining activities and the officials who are turning a blind eye to allow the destruction of the Aravalli hills.
4) Number of forest and police check posts and guards patrolling the Aravalli forests need to be increased significantly and drones must be used for surveillance to identify and stop illegal tree felling and mining activities.
5) A policy must be adopted for use of alternative and eco friendly materials such as fly ash bricks for construction so the need to mine stone and sand from eco sensitive areas like the Aravallis is removed.