Aadi-Badri hill of Braj to be declared as protected forest area

Aadi Badrinath and His Associates in Aadi Badri temple

The decision to declare 1000 hectares of land around the two hills as protected forest area comes after Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi intervened in the matter that was referred to her by saints and Brajwasis who have been protesting against mining activity in the region for over eight months.  

Vrindavan, 2021-10-07 (Vrindavan Today News): In a huge victory for saints fighting to save the sacred and ecologically significant Kanakanchal and Aadi-Bardri hills of Braj 84 kos Parikrama in Bharatpur, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress Government in Rajasthan has decided to declare 1000 hectares of land around the two hills as protected forest area. The decision comes as a result of Congress General Secretary and in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi intervening in the matter.

A proposal for the same has been drafted under the directions of the Collector. The Government will soon issue a notification for its final implementation.

The relief comes after 260 days of agitation launched to demand an immediate ban on all legal and illegal mining activity in the region around the two hills in the Deeg and Kama tehsils (administrative division) of Bharatpur, Rajasthan. After nearly eight months of attempts, all in vain, the movement aggravated to take the form of a hunger strike in the last 53 days before the matter was finally referred to Priyanka Gandhi who is helming the UP campaign for the upcoming assembly elections in 2022.

Brajwasis and saints holding march in protest of the mining of hills at Aadi Badri Area of Braj

The problem was brought to her notice by Pradeep Mathur, ex-MLA of Mathura-Vrindavan. Mathur and other prominent members of the movement met Gandhi on September 11 requesting her to step in and arbitrate on the issue with the Gehlot Government. Soon after her mediation, the chief minister convened a meeting with his cabinet and concerned officials on October 2 wherein it was decided that 1000 hectares of land around the two hills will be declared protected forest area, thereby putting an end to all mining activity in the zone in accordance with the 1996 Supreme Court judgement.

A proposal for the same has been drafted under the directions of the Collector. The Government will soon issue a notification for its final implementation. Leased projects in the region will be transferred elsewhere.

It is pertinent to note here that in 2009 Bharatpur’s Deeg and Kama tehsils were declared protected forest zones. However, due to the manner in which the two administrative divisions were delineated, Kanakanchal and Aadi-Badri hills could not be included in the plan, and since then rampant legal and illegal mining has been going on the region. The ravenous attempts have reached grotesque proportions in the past 12 years, threatening the very existence of this geographically and ecologically sensitive area.

The Kanakanchal and Aadi-Badri hills also hold immense religious significance for Vaishnavas. According to the Puranas, the two hills and surrounding forests is where Shri Krishna performed many of His childhood pastimes. They are an inalienable part of the Braj 84 Kos Parikrama.

Protest rally by saints

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