Thousands of people gathered for hearing against trees being cut in the Aarey, more than 33,000 suggestions and objections were submitted by the citizens and activists against the BMC’s proposal to cut 2,702 trees in the Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon for the Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) car shed.
Tribals, activists, and citizens had earlier revolted to the decision, so the civic body’s Garden Department called a public hearing, to know the objections of the people, but the department was surprised as the number of people gathered for the meeting was quite high.
“This is the highest number of objections/suggestions we have ever received for any proposal to cut trees. We will need at least eight days to go through each complaint. Some complaints may be duplicates. We have not decided whether we would consider them as one.” said Jeetendra Pardeshi, Superintendent, Garden Department.
“It is good that so many people have objected. I am hoping that at least a few hundreds, if not, a thousand people attend the hearing so that the government knows that we are serious about saving Aarey. If we simply let the BMC or metro-3 cut the trees as per their wish, then Mumbai will lose a lot of its green cover.” said an activist.
After the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the only major green spot for the Mumbai city is the Aarey, if it is destroyed for the car shed purpose, then the city will have to face a biodiversity loss, as per the records, Aarey is the shelter for seven leopards, various kinds of insects, creatures nurture in the Aarey. The tribals living in the proposed car shed land will lose their livelihood, as they have their farmlands, fruit gardens in the green forest.
A petition was filed to National Green Tribunal (NGT), but it was withdrawn as NGT cleared that Aarey is nowhere mentioned as a forest land and the decision can be taken by Supreme Court or High Court.
“There are several cases in court against metro car shed in Aarey, yet the tree-cutting permissions are being processed. At the adjacent site too, 160 trees were cut despite the permission for 137 trees. Why the authority working in such urgency? If the metro loses the case, the trees won’t grow back.” said a member of Aarey Conservation Group.
If the case is pending in the Court, then how come the civic authority allowed the cutting of trees, If people are gathering in thousands for conserving the Aarey, state government should look into the matter on prior basis?