India’s inert invaluable assets
Editorial

India’s inert invaluable assets

September 2, 2017

Teachers of elementary schools during the years not too long ago used to explain to their pupils that the range of Himalayan mountains were not only insurmountable but also served  to protect the land and its people from invaders beyond the massive mountains, eternally covered with snow. However, that assurance was falsified in early 1960s with armed invasion from neighbouring China. The kings who ruled over large regions in different parts of the then undivided sub-continent as well as chieftans who held sway over limited territories such as Chitradurga in Karnataka are featured in the pages of the land’s history covering many centuries for raising virtually impregnable Forts on top of hillocks. Golconda Fort near Hyderabad and many Forts in Rajasthan bear testimony to the stone-based strategy of the rulers of a distant past in the land. The watch-towers standing at the peak point of the hillocks were truly the silent sentinels alerting the citizens.

Lay people take fascination to reach the shrines on hill-tops such Chamundeshwari Temple in Mysuru not taking much note of both the sparse greenery on their surface or the hard rock that constitutes the mountain’s mass. Even geologists don’t seem to have examined the mineral wealth or otherwise that lies below the rocky surface of the mountains and hillocks.

Issues of laying ropeways on some hillocks having shrines at their top with large following of the devout, including the case of Chamundi Hill, have been examined in recent past resulting in inconclusive opinions among the citizens on leaving the hillocks alone. Mercifully, in the context of ongoing mindless mining of sand from river beds as source of raw material for raising multi-storeyed structures in urban spaces, the builders don’t seem to have turned their attention to the rocks of the hills. The peaceful existence of the rocky mass may be short-lived given the recently reported move to set up plants in Karnataka for pulverising construction debris into powder form to be used in place of sand.

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The Geological Survey of India, a government organisation established in 1851, is the agency entrusted with the protection of geological features in the country. Geological diversity, according to experts, includes rocks, minerals, fossils and landscapes of billions of years vintage. Conservation of geological heritage remains sidelined in the country with the mountains, standing as silent sentinels, not rated for their asset value.

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