Mumbai: For Metro 2,700 trees to be cut in Aarey colony

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set in motion the process to axe over 2,700 trees in Aarey Milk Colony to clear the way for the Metro-3 car shed.  But this time, it will not axe these trees right away.

Citizens have until October 10 to send in their suggestions and objections, after which the BMC will hold a hearing and forward these complaints to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), the development authority. The corporation will chop 2,238 trees and transplant the remaining 464 trees. In all, 2,702 trees will be cut.

In the civic body’s Development Plan (DP) 2034, Aarey has been declared a green zone, where development is possible with an exclusive permission from the civic chief. Inside Aarey, 33 hectares of land have been reserved for the proposed carshed – an area equal to almost four Oval Maidans.

Jitendra Pardeshi, superintendent of gardens and tree officer, BMC, said the corporation is only a facilitator for the development authority. “It is a project of the MMRCL. We are only facilitating the first part, as chopping of trees is involved. We will study the suggestions and objections, which will be forwarded to the development body.”

However, activists and environmentalists said annihilation of trees will do no good to the city and will only serve to disturb its already teetering ecological balance. Zoru Bhathena, city tree activist, said scores of Mumbaikars will be gathered to file objections. “The area also falls in the floodplains of the Mithi and is an eco-sensitive zone. We have appealed to citizens to remain present on the last day in large numbers to show their love and support for Aarey Colony,” he added.

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