- At Band Baretha Wildlife Park in Sanctuary, Rajasthan, a patch of land is set to be denotified for pink sandstone mining.
- The pink sandstone will solely be used for construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir in Ayodhya. Pink Sandstone is known for its beautiful light sunrise-pink shade.
- More than 1 lakh cubit feet of land from Bansi Paharpur, just a few kilometres south of the sanctuary, is sought for ‘high priority’ clearance.
- See the map below for the distance between Bansi Paharpur and the sanctuary
Illegal mining of pink sandstone had been occuring since 1989, but supply dried up after the Bharatpur administration seized 25 trucks of illegally mined pink sandstone.
Even after a ban was imposed in 2006 again, illegal mining continued in the spot, and today, the place has been completely ravaged.
Reasons for the sudden change in policy
- Soon after the raid, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Ayodhya warned the Congress government against illegalizing the mining of pink sandstone. “We wanted the Congress government in Rajasthan to understand that building the temple is the nation’s work. A solution has been found every time an obstruction came in its way. We will welcome any move to legalise the Bansi Paharpur mines,” Sharad Sharma, VHP’s regional spokesperson in Ayodhya, told The Indian Express.
- When asked why the mines were being legalized, Bharatpur District Magistrate Nathmal Didel stated that there was no reason in writing why they were being legalized, and they were only being allowed because the stone is in high demand all over the country, thus a joint survey by the forest departments, mines department and the revenue department.
- The forest department says that they were not consulted and that they will only look into giving clearance after the hearing.