Aarey Metro 3 carshed: Fight to save city’s last green lung: ‘Ayes’ & ‘noes’ take protest to BKC

Mumbai: Heavy rain could not deter protesters from reaching the office of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) on Friday.

Citizens and environmentalists staged a silent protest against the proposed metro carshed in Aarey. Bollywood actor Swara Bhaskar also joined the protest later, adding her voice to those opposing the felling of over 2,000 trees for the proposed carshed.

There was also another group of citizens at the spot, shouting, ‘Metro vachwa pariyavaran vachwa (Save metro, save environment)’ in Marathi. The supporters held banners of the Jagrut Bharat Manch, an association which claims to be working for the problems of railway commuters.

Even as Mumbai Police restricted the anti-metro carshed agitators to a few metres away from the main gate of the MMRCL, the pro-carshed delegation was allowed to go inside and meet the officials. This raised the hackles of the activists, who alleged bias and accused the authority of plotting such stunts.

The MMRCL wants 30 hectares of Aarey land to construct a carshed for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro 3, for which 2,000-plus trees are likely to be axed. Over the past few days, environmentalists have been going out on a limb to rally popular support against the proposal to cut thousands of trees.

Citizens gathered in large numbers at Marine Drive to raise their voice against this move. A petition has also been filed by activist Zoru Bhathena, challenging the orders of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Tree Authority allowing the felling of 2000-plus trees for the carshed.

The petitioner told the court the proposal was approved by the BMC by fraudulent methods and raised concern the felling of these trees would have a substantial impact on the environment.

Unless the court grants relief, there will be widespread environmental damage to the city, which cannot be monetarily compensated, the petition said.

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