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The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) in its Draft Regional Plan 2041 has replaced the term 'Aravali' with 'Hills and Mountains' for the Aravali Range that surrounds the southwest part of the National Capital Region.
For us, the citizens of Gurugram, Aravalis are an integral part of our lives, and doing away with the name is deeply concerning for us.
When you remove a name, you remove all associations with it – historical, emotional. How can you just remove an entire millennia-old thing, which is critical for each one of us in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi.
"People have always spoken about Aravalis and suddenly 20 years down the line, nobody knows the term because it doesn't get used, it doesn't get talked about. So, they wouldn't know what it is, and thus it can be removed to make multistorey apartments, or airport or another flyover."Veena Padmanabhan, Campaigner, Aravalli Bachao Movement
"I strongly recommend that NCRPB to reconsider the removal of the term 'conservation'. Because the moment we remove the term conservation, what does it mean? We are confusing all the work that has been done over the years. People would be confused about whether it's a natural zone or natural conservation zone. And conservation is the key to the survival of Aravali."Anil Kaushik, Campaigner, Aravalli Bachao Movement
If the Aravalis go, the entire NCR region would become unliveable. So, all the politicians who are plotting to destroy Aravalis for their immediate economic purposes, whether to suit themselves or to suit their friends or a particular lobby, are toying with future. It's going to affect me personally. It's not going to affect somebody random in the future. It's going to affect me and my family and children. Our taps are going to run dry, the dessert would be at our doorsteps. We will have no nature left to be a part of.
"Aravali forests, especially in Haryana, are home to rich biodiversity – 400 species of trees, 200 species of birds, 20 species of mammals, and 100 species of butterflies. They all stand endangered if this draft plan is put into implementation."Jyoti Raghavan, Campaigner, Aravalli Bachao Movement
'Bring Back Aravali'
Aravalis has rich flora and fauna and if we are not sensitive about it, we are going to destroy all the biodiversity in the region.
"Bring back the terms 'Aravali' and 'Forest Areas.' And in forest areas, bring everything back – notified forests, the ones that have been referred in various judgments, what looks like a forest, feels like a forest. So, bring back all of those and identify them as zones for conservation."Veena Padmanabhan, Campaigner, Aravalli Bachao Movement
We have been fighting for the Aravalis for a very long time and we will fight using all the legal remedies available to protect it.
"We have succeeded to a large extent in losing the Aravalis. Aravalis is not just the mountain, it is also the foothills. The foothills have been constructed and now they want to get into the mountains. I say enough is enough. We have to stop this. So, we are going to raise our voice and we are going to object in not just one forum. We are going to object in multiple forums. We will take it to media, Twitter, Facebook, civil court, revenue court. We will simultaneously approach every authority in the country starting from Deputy Commissioner to the prime minister."Lt. Col. (Retd.) Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi, Campaigner, Aravalli Bachao Movement
This particular move by the government via the NCR Planning Board is an the actual onslaught on our natural ecosystem this precious ecosystem called Aravalis. So, we really want to urge viewers, Indians, nature lovers, ecologists, conservationists, everybody to come forward and help us save the Aravalis.Anuradha Prasad Dhawan, Campaigner, Aravalli Bachao Movement
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