Mumbai seems set to lose a large part of forests, but activists, environmentalists, and residents are not breathing easy.
Following a wave of protests, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) which had earlier sought more land from the Aarey Colony to build another casting yard for the upcoming metro projects, has decided to stop.
MMRDA BACKS OFF ON AAREY
The MMRDA has now sought an alternate land parcel at Wadala in the southeastern periphery of the megapolis.
“We have decided to take up 28,000 sqft of land in the Wadala area to build the casting yard for the metro line 6,” an MMRDA official told PTI.
WHY ARE PEOPLE PROTESTING?
Last month, the BMC’s Tree Authority has passed a proposal to cut down 2238 trees in the Aarey forests which led to daily protests by citizens and the greens in many parts of the city.
The status of Aarey has been a concern for the past four years, ever since the proposal to build a car shed for the Metro-3 line (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) was proposed.
WHY IS AAREY IMPORTANT?
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.
According to Naturalist Shardul Bajikar, the plots that the government is seeking for the project has exotic trees and wildlife, which if cut will lead to major environmental imbalance.
Aarey is an active buffer for the protected areas of the SG National Park. This landscape is a veritable green lung and must be protected as it is,” he added.