Mining blues

THE state of Rajasthan evokes images of camels loping over lifeless sand stretching to the horizon, without the welcome punctuation of green cover. So the state government's bid to denotify 3,500 sq km of forest cover for mining purposes sparked off an alarum. Rajasthan has hardly 9 per cent notified forest area, of which only 3 per cent - 17,000 sq km is under forest cover.

These areas, rich in marble and mineral deposits, have lately caught the state government s avaricious eye. There are'plans to convert Banswara, Dungarpur, Udaipur, Rajsamund and Alwar districts into mining locations. As a measure of its seriousness, the state government is set to use a clause from the obsolete Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953, allowing denotification of forests.

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