The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Rajasthan government to stop illegal mining in the Aravalli area after expressing shock over the disappearance of 31 hills, PTI reported. The court asked the state to stop illegal mining in the 115.34-hectare area there within 48 hours.

Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said though Rajasthan was earning a royalty of around Rs 5,000 crore from mining activities in the region, it cannot endanger the lives of lakhs of people in the National Capital Region as the disappearance of the hills may lead to an increase in pollution levels.

“Thirty one hills or hillocks have disappeared,” the court said. “If hills will disappear in the country, what will happen? Have people become ‘Hanuman’ that they are running away with hills? [Around] 15% to 20% hills have vanished in the state of Rajasthan. This is your ground truth. Whom [do] you want to take for a ride?”

The judges then told the state’s counsel about the importance of having hills. “Hills are created by the God,” they said. “There must be some reason if the God has done this. They [hills] act as barriers.”

The court asked the state chief secretary to file an affidavit in compliance with its direction and posted the matter for hearing on October 29, Bar and Bench reported. “We are compelled to pass an order of this nature in view of the fact that it appears from a reading of the status report that the entire issue of mining in the Aravalli Hills has been taken very lightly by the state of Rajasthan,” the court said.