Mumbai: Just as the controversy for felling of trees has died down, now 444 trees will be felled at Aarey Colony for the construction of a ramp for the Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) line.
These 444 trees are apart from the 3,130 trees affected at Aarey for the construction of the car depot as proposed by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC). The permission for felling of these trees will be given by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) after suggestions and objections from the citizens.
Citizens and environmentalists have opposed the felling of trees stating it as an environmental damage at the only green lung of the city. These trees are affected as an exit ramp needs to be constructed while the MMRC also aims to construct a launching shaft for the tunnel boring machine (TBM) at Sariput Nagar.
Apart from this the activists mentioned trees will also be affected as electric pylons need to be moved from the 30-hectare plot at Aarey where the car depot will be constructed. The number of trees affected due to the Metro 3 has been increasing as after conducting a survey the MMRC in June had revealed 3,130 trees would be affected at Aarey.
Zoru Bhathena, an activist said, “These 444 trees are apart from the 3,130 trees that would be affected at Aarey. Initially, the MMRC had said 600 trees would be affected then this number increased to 3,130 and now we an additional 444.” The exit ramp needs to be constructed as the underground metro line needs to come overground after the 26th station SEEPZ before the line enters the car depot at Aarey. “The entire metro line is underground comprising of 26 stations while Aarey depot is the only station above the ground,” Bhathena added. This exit ramp is being constructed as the rakes need to be halted at the depot.
The activists have approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) raising the issue of environmental damage. While the proposal for felling of trees is with the tree authority of the civic body. The ruling party Shiv Sena of BMC has opposed this proposal. Yashwant Jadhav leader of Shiv Sena stated their stand is firm, “We are against tree cutting. Therefore, a site visit has been arranged on November 10 by Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar with corporators of all parties and thereafter the decision will be taken.” He further remarked already trees have been cut and now they want more 444 trees to be cut which is unacceptable.