Activist seeks SIT to check actual nos. of trees axed

Mumbai: An environmentalist, Avkash Jadhav has raised certain issues regarding the trees at Aarey colony in Goregaon and has written a letter to the Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, with some of his demands.

Jadhav, an academician is also a volunteer with Kaash Foundation, an NGO that works for the tribal community in Aarey. In his letter he has included certain points in which he has demanded transparency in these procedures and has urged the government to form a special investigation team which should consist of an arborist, activist, environmental experts and members from different NGOs.

"This team will inspect the Aarey site, to find out the actual damage caused to the environment by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL)," stated Jadhav.

He has also written, "We demand a strong action against the officials of MMRCL and all those who randomly chopped the trees, on the night of October 4." He has also demanded, all the cases and legal implications on the activists arrested for the Aarey protest should be dropped immediately.

Jadhav has asked MMRCL MD, Aswini Bhide to take full responsibility for proactively axing the trees at night even before the Bombay High Court issued the notification. "Is this not contempt of court? She should be tried by the court," stated Jadhav.

He has further written, "The state government and MMRCL should give a detailed account of using the state machinery against its own citizens and crushing all the civil liberties under the disguise of the development to the honourable SC.”

Jadhav says the rights of the citizens have been curtailed. "Even after two days of the cutting of trees, section 144 is still in effect at Aarey. Police is not even allowing people inside Aarey.

We are demanding that the entire area should be quarantined and SIT should inspect the spot to examine the exact number of trees that were axed. We believe 2000 trees have been axed, but the number could be more,” said Jadhav.

He said he would handover the letter to the Governor in a day or two as he was told, the Governor was said to be busy.

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