On Wednesday, the Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Bill of 2019 was passed by the state government. In this, 75,000 acres of land under the Aravalli and Shivalik ranges will be dug up for mining for real estate development. This has been met with strong opposition by the Supreme Court.
Among the 18 Bills passed by the State Assembly, it was noted that most of them were passed in absence of the opposition, on the last day of budget session of Haryana Vidhan Sabha.
The passing of the bill has not gone down well with the citizens. Experts say, this could drastically affect the local ecology and the health of a million people living in the region.
Keeping the already fragile state of the range in mind, the law was met with sheer disapproval by the Supreme Court, who did not give a go-ahead for the government's law to allow construction in the region.
Rebuking the law, the Supreme Court said,
Legislature is not supreme. At times, court also has to prevail.
Shocked, the court also stated,
No action should be taken under the amended Act. It is really shocking that you are destroying the forest. It is not permissible.
In the past, the Supreme Court, in the year 2002 and 2004, had specifically mentioned that forest land should not be disturbed with any construction and should be treated as forest land only.
This senseless deforestation will not only disturb the natural habitat of wild animals. But also, since the Aravalli range acts as a natural barrier against dust from Rajasthan, exposing them to unplanned development will lead to environmental degradation.
Not the first time, the Aravalli range has previously been subjected to deforestation, encroachment and mining. As a result, it is the most “degraded” forest range in India, according to a study of the Aravalli hills in southern Haryana by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
Even the citizens of Gurugram and Faridabad in Haryana came forward against the law and started a campaign in the hope to stop it from happening.
Citizens cheered the court's intervention.
I would give a big thank to the SUPREME COURT for taking action against R. KANT Builder for unauthorized construction in ARAVALI RANGE (HARYANA, FARIDABAD).— Naresh (@Nareshmohan2) September 12, 2018
HEAR! HEAR! @RaoNarbir @cmohry @mlkhattar "You are not supreme and supreme is the rule of law," SC tells Haryana govt...!!#AravaliBachao #ProtectAravalis #SaveAravalis #NoSaansNoVote #MyRightToBreathe— Bhavreen Kandhari (@BhavreenMK) March 1, 2019
There is still hope for the Aravalis.— N SOOD (@NSOOD6) March 1, 2019
Though it is sad that what the government should not have done in the first place is being "amended" by Supreme court. #HopeForAravalis#SOSAravali #SupremeCourt
.@PMOIndia .@nehadixit123 .@dhruv_rathee .@NoTreesNoWater
Further talking about the disastrous results of the law passed, a Gurugram based environmentalist, Chetan Agarwal, said,
This amendment of the Act is actually a repeal and will drastically reduce the protection accorded to forests in the state.
For the sake of the already threatened environment, here's hoping the bill will be withdrawn and the Supreme Court's order will prevail.