Mumbai: Over a hundred trees were cut on Monday at the Aarey Car Depot site of the aqua metro line under heavy police cover raising criticism from the environmentalists as well as a section of politicians.
These trees are the same set of 177 that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) wants to be axed to lay shunting lines for maintenance purpose and had approached the Tree Authority as well as the apex court. It had received permission to go ahead with removing and transplanting of them.
Nature lover upset over action
Last week, the Supreme Court had levied Rs 10 lakh fine on the MMRC for seeking to cut more trees over and above the permitted 84 trees as well as violating the judiciary's order.
Earlier Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule had commented on the subject stating that we must raise our voices against tree cutting at Aarey in the name of development.
On Monday, nature lovers were upset with the action of removing them within a week of the apex court permitting. This was also witnessed over the social media with people voicing their concerns.
One such individual reacted on how earlier tree cutting of this scale was never done for development works, while another person said "How fast they are cleaning wood...That's why citizen movements are important and needs strong support... In #Mumbai it's #saveaarey @ConserveAarey and in #Pune It's @VetalTekdi@CMOMaharashtra@mieknathshinde @Dev_Fadnavis please dont suppress citizen's demand..."
MMRC claims removal of green cover crucial
As per the details gained, of the 177 trees, 121 trees were removed from the car depot plot and the balance will be transplanted on to another location.The MMRC claims that removal of the green cover is crucial to the 33.5 km long underground Cuffe Parade - Bandra - SEEPZ metro rail project. Unless these trees aren't cut, certain crucial shunting lines cannot be laid to allow the metro trains to enter and exit the entire corridor. In their submissions made to the court, MMRC had mentioned that the numbers increased as the saplings planted years ago have grown and these too have to be cleared from the site.An official told The Free Press Journal that with permission received from 177 trees, no further clearance is required for any more trees to be cut or transplantation. Aarey Car Depot has always been a hotly contested subject between the nature lovers and the government.
The ruling alliance in Maharashtra is in favour of car depot to be created at Aarey Forest, the opposition, particularly Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena supports the public who want the green parcel to be left untouched.Currently, the Aarey Car Depot is close to 60% ready and the MMRC is planning to operate Aarey to Bandra Kurla Complex section by December this year and the entire route by June 2024.
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