Wastelands are those which for one reason or the other do not fulfil life sustaining potential. Degraded, mined and other type of wasteland should be reclaimed and put to some productive use.
Increasing misuse of land resources through short sighted development policies has resulted into wastelands. About half of the land area of the country is lying as wasteland of varying intensity of degradation.
(1) Degraded land:
More land is needed for agriculture and forestry due to increasing population. Moreover our good land is shrinking both in quantity and quality.
The former is due to unexpected demands and the latter due to erosion, desertification, water logging, salinity, alkali soils and toxic effects of agrochemicals and industrial effluents.
The only way to raise land resources is by reclamation and developing degraded land (ravines, gullies, water logged, alkaline, saline and riverine lands, lateritic soil, land infested with unwanted shrubs and bushes, stony and gravelly lands etc.). Other types of land are cultural wasteland.
(2) Mined areas:
Most mining work has been unscientific with no environmental protection. They have developed large tracts that lost productivity. There have been water and air pollution, despoliation of land and deforestation, noise and ground vibration problems etc. Mined areas are to be reclaimed for agriculture, forestry7, fisheries and recreation.
In Singrauli complex forest and hillocks have been erased due to construction of high power transmission lines, roads and rain tracks. Establishment of other factories as cement and super thermal power stations around coal mines have resulted into environmental degradation.
There are two successful cases of reclamation of mined areas in India. These are Naively Lignite Corporation Ltd. in Tamilnadu and Stone Quarries of Sayaji Iron Works in Gujarat. There is need to have legal protection and to revise the Mines and Minerals (Regulations and Development) Act 1957 (MMRD Act) to bring in it the environmental concerns.