Mumbai: 'Save Aarey' protest held against building of metro car shed in forest

Mumbai: 'Save Aarey' protest held against building of metro car shed in forest

Earlier last week, the newly sworn in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde reversed the decision of the Uddhav Thackeray government and has decided that the car shed of Metro 3 will be built inside Aarey forest.

Sherine RajUpdated: Sunday, July 10, 2022, 10:48 PM IST
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Mumbai: 'Save Aarey' protest held against building of metro car shed in forest | FPJ Photo

Mumbai: Hundreds of Mumbaikars joined in a protest outside Picnic Point garden, Aarey on Sunday, between 11 am to 12 pm, with the demand of putting the Metro-3 car shed back in Kanjurmarg, and not bringing it back to the Aarey forest. Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray too, visited the protest site and extended his support towards saving the forest.

Sanjiv Valsan, an activist said, “Regarding the protest, the idea is to have it every Sunday so that nobody forgets how important this issue is. Although, we are aware of the stay order in the Supreme Court prohibiting the cutting of trees in Aarey but we can’t afford to slack for a single moment so the protest will be on till the demand is met. And the demand is very simple — take the car shed back to Kanjurmarg where it will save 10000 crores of public tax money, interconnect the metro line, give better metro connectivity and also save a forest. This protest is not just a fight between development and environment, infact the environmental issue has improved the metro lines by integrating them.”

Valsan added saying, “Also, the central government had delayed this project by putting a stay order on the Kanjurmarg land, and the previous government was trying to do something good but it’s back to the same issue now.”

One of the protesters and activist, Manoj Kamble, a professor, said, “The government wants to build the metro car shed in Aarey but that will lead to the destruction of trees and animals of the forest. Also if the car shed is built here, the groundwater will be used for cleaning the trains and for other purposes which will reduce the groundwater leading to insufficient water for the trees and vegetation to grow in the Aarey region.”

“Aarey is called the lungs of Mumbai and I am not fighting this fight for myself, most of us here have already lived half of our lives, I am fighting for my students, for the next generation who will not be able to see this forest if such government projects are built in this land. We have taken so much from the environment but now is the time we give it back and save the Aarey forest,” added Kamble.

Another protester and activist, Dr. Snehal Donde, said, “In the name of development, the Aarey forest is being encroached although this is a reserved forest land. There are also major rivers flowing through this forest— one of which is the Mithi river which is put into retention walls by cutting several trees and encroaching the river land, and slowly these rivers will get converted into nallas.”

“This is a vast land which is being eyed by everyone, even projects like crematoriums and petrol pumps were announced earlier along with the metro car shed. The car shed was going to be shifted to Kanjurmarg by the previous government but now it’s announced that it’s going to be back in Aarey. The government says that almost 60% work of the car shed is done but it’s not, there are still many trees in that area which will soon be cut down if the car shed work continues,” added Donde.

Earlier last week, the newly sworn in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde reversed the decision of the Uddhav Thackeray government and has decided that the car shed of Metro 3 will be built inside Aarey forest. The decision was taken in the very first cabinet meeting.

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