Mumbai: Trees felled in dead of the night

Mumbai:Within hours of the High Court verdict, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation started chopping trees at Aarey Colony. And that, too, at night-time.

Immediately, angry activists gathered in large numbers at the site to oppose the felling. They even dismantled a steel barricade to have a closer look at the exercise. In no time, videos started circulating on WhatsApp and Twitter.

Indubitably, MMRCL is in a tearing hurry to axe the trees. Strictly speaking, the authority is allowed to axe trees 15 days after the civic tree authority uploads the permission on its website, claims activist Zoru Bhathena.

Moreover, an officer of the Tree Authority is required to be present at the site while the tree cutting is on.

Ruben Mascarenhas, an activist, called the action of tree cutting in night hours by MMRCL a shameful act. He also lamented the lathi-charge on the orders of the Zonal DCP. It is understood that 100 people have been detained.

The tree cutting also has its supporters like Big B. Another supporter Ashwini Bhide Tweeted, "A new false propaganda is in the air that 15 days’ notice is required after the order is uploaded before the tree cutting can begin. This is absolutely baseless.’’

The Tree Authority order was issued on Sept 13. So, 15 days were over on Sept 28, Bhide adds. In another tweet she reasoned, "Hon. Bombay HC has dismissed all petitions in unequivocally clear terms today.

But some people consider themselves superior to judiciary as well. While their own actions are illegal, they cry foul. If you lose a battle in court, it is better to accept it honourably than to take to the street."

Aditya Thackeray, too, tweeted in the night-hours, "The vigour with which the @MumbaiMetro3 is slyly and swiftly cutting down an ecosystem in Aarey is shameful and disgusting. How about posting these officials in PoK and giving them charge to destroy terror camps, rather than trees?’’

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