Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Saturday launched a major initiative to make green the 5-km buffer area around the Aravalli hill range to prevent the eastward expansion of the Thar desert and land degradation.
One of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, the Aravallis span 700 km, from Gujarat to Delhi through Rajasthan and Haryana, and act as a natural barrier to check the spread of the Thar desert to the Indo-Gangetic plains.
Addressing a function organised to celebrate the International Day of Forests at Tikli village in Haryana, Yadav said the project will increase the green cover and biodiversity of the Aravallis, and also improve soil fertility, water availability, and climate resilience of the region.
He said it will provide employment opportunities to local communities.
The minister said the project will contribute to India's commitments under three major international conventions — the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Yadav also unveiled the 'National Action Plan to Combat Desertification and Land Degradation Through Forestry Interventions'.
The Aravalli Green Wall Project is part of the Environment Ministry's vision to create green corridors across the country to combat land degradation and desertification.
The project will be implemented in all four Aravalli range states and will involve planting native species of trees and shrubs on scrubland, wasteland, and degraded forest land, along with rejuvenating and restoring water bodies such as ponds, lakes, and streams.
The ministry said the project aims to improve the ecological health of the Aravalli range, prevent the eastward expansion of the Thar desert and reduce land degradation.
The green wall will help in carbon sequestration and mitigating climate change. It will provide a habitat for wildlife, and improve water quality and quantity, the ministry said.