The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre and the State governments of Rajasthan and Haryana over deforestation in the Aravallis, which has “led to air pollution in the Capital”.
“The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that massive deforestation in the Aravallis for business interests in Rajasthan and Haryana is the root cause behind the increasing dust storms and air pollution in Delhi and the NCR during the past several days creating health concerns,” the commission said in a statement.
“The NHRC has observed that the gravity of the issue demands proactive and effective measures by the authorities to stop deforestation and degradation of the Aravallis,” read the statement.
Centre also sent notice
Issuing notices to the chief secretaries of the State governments and to the Union Ministry of Environment, the NHRC sought information on the steps that are being taken by authorities on the issue. The authorities have been asked to respond within six weeks.
The statement noted that the Aravallis act as a green cover to check the extent of the desert from western Rajasthan to eastern parts.
It said that experts have opined that if the degradation of the Aravallis continues then it may cause advancement in desertification and increased intensity of dust storms, which will affect the health of the people due to air pollution.
“Reportedly, the open forest cover in the Aravallis has decreased in the last three decades while the scrub has increased by 5.7% making it almost barren without any moisture in the air. If its degradation is not checked, the day is not far when desertification will badly affect a host of ecosystem services, including rain, ground water level and habitat for hundreds of flora and fauna.”