Nature Tidings

Is Government Really Serious About Environment? “Save Aarey”

Aarey forest

Aarey colony in Mumbai which is famously known as green lungs of the city is possessing a threat for the execution of the Mumbai Metro-3 project. This Aarey forest constitutes 1287 hectares and is one of the parts of Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai and it is supposed to have a rich diversity. It supports an ecosystem of its own and it requires hundreds of years to build one similar to this.

When the citizens and government officials across the world are encouraging for tree plantation in order to tackle climate change and air pollution, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) is determined to axe down over 2000 trees in order to build car shed for their Mumbai Metro-3 project.

Consecutive Verdicts for the Aarey Colony:

On Friday, the Bombay High court dismissed the petition filed by Mumbai-based NGO Vanashakti in order to have the Aarey colony declared as ‘Protected forest’ or ‘Reserved forest. Thereafter, the Supreme court intervened in the spiraling war between the state authorities and environmental extremists by ordering the Maharashtra government, not to razed trees in the Aarey colony.

The government reverted back by promising not to cut down any more trees. However, there is no count of trees that are being felled down in Aarey colony during the tree cutting spree on Friday and Saturday after HC’s verdict on Friday.

Further, SC gave the verdict in response to the public litigation filed by a group of law students on Sunday. The law students wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of the apex court urging him to order the cease of tree cutting spree atAarey colony. The apex court thereafter registered the letter as PIL and took a Suo Motu control over the matter.

As the court will be closed for the Dussehra holiday, a special vacation bench was established to hear the plea. The bench headed by justices Ashok Bhushan and Arun Mishra directed the government not to fell anymore tree in Aarey.

During the hearing session, Justice Arun Mishra asked whether the Aarey colony was an eco-sensitive zone or not. To this, advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan said: Wider issues relating to Aarey being a forest or not has been pending before the Supreme Court in a 2018 matter”.

He said the matter of declaring Aarey as the eco-sensitive zone is still pending with the National Green Tribunal. The forest bench of the Supreme Court has given the next hearing date on 21st Oct 2019.

Meanwhile, on Sunday 29 protestors who were arrested while protesting against the felling down of trees in Aarey forest were granted bail. Several NGOs, politicians, and artists of the film industry have extended their support for the activists protesting for the cause.

Conclusion:

In a jist, activists have to say that they are not against the expansion of Metro in Mumbai but depletion of an ecologically sensitive place like Aarey colony in Mumbai might cause a threat to human life. This functions as the largest air purifier for the city and named as green lungs.

Hence, the activists want the Metro shed to be constructed elsewhere as there are many industrial and non-residential locations. As an ecosystem like this cannot be build up in a day even if the government promise to plant several trees across the city in return to this.

The activist believes that if many people across the country lend their voice in this movement then pressure could be created on the government for taking the decision on relocating the metro car shed.

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