Arre Aarey Gone! BMC Gives A Nod To Tree Felling Proposal
By: Siya Bhatia
The BMC’s Tree Authority has passed a proposal to cut down 2238 trees in mumbai’s green lungs, the Aarey forests. Aarey is one of the last remaining green patches in the city. It is situated in Goregaon, and is famous among nature enthusiasts for being the green lungs of the city.
The status of Aarey has been a concern for the past four years, ever since the proposal to build a carshed for the Metro-3 line (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) was proposed. Environmentalists have been fighting the matter at the National Green Tribunal, Bombay HC, and the SC, calling the area a ‘forest’ that is home to rich biodiversity that faces threats from construction.
Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav and standing committee chairman said BJP and NCP supported the proposal.
Meanwhile, President of Yuva Sena, Aaditya Thackeray said,”In the case of Aarey, when we speak of taking up the environmental cause, the results of the vote in the tree committee as I hear are as follows: BJP, NCP and the court appointed members voted for deforestation in the proposed area of the car shed. Congress happily walked out.”
In a meeting on August 21, 2019, the 18-member authority, which includes five experts, were not convinced by the car-shed proposal. Yashwant Jadhav, member of the tree authority, from Shiv Sena said, “We need detailed information on the answers given by the administration to the 82,000 complaints sent in by citizens and also explore the possibility of an underground car shed.There are 27 adivasi padas (tribal hamlets), which are dependent on these trees and it is their source of income.”
While BJP member Abhijeet Samant said, “The BMC must use the Miyawaki method to create dense forests in a short span of time at Aarey and SGNP also. The civic body must carry out excessive forestation on the remaining part of Aarey. The tribals are not dependent on the trees chosen to make way for the car shed.”
During a city session conducted by Let Me Breathe in June 2019, all panelists with different ideologies came together to talk about how to make Mumbai pollution free. On a question raised about Aarey forests, President of INC Mumbai, Milind Deora had said that development and environment can co-exist but environment is more important.
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