Local citizens gather at Aarey forest to commemorate the first anniversary of tree cutting incident.
Local citizens gather at Aarey forest to commemorate the first anniversary of tree cutting incident.

Mumbai: People from various walks of life came together at the Aarey forest on Sunday morning to commemorate the tree felling incident which took place last year.

Last year on the intervening night of October 3 and 4, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) started chopping trees at the Aarey forest in order to build the metro rail car shed. However, after the Shiv Sena led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government came to power, the project was stalled as the government went on to declare the Aarey forest as a forest zone.

"The trees were cut late at night, not a single person was allowed inside the forest and it's quite likely that alongside trees birds and butterflies have also lost their lives as they used to inhabit in these areas of the forest," environmental activist Amrita Bhattacharjee told FPJ.

On Sunday the activists were joined by local adivasis and students at the land of the then proposed metro car shed. Following distancing protocol, the citizens planted saplings and also lighted candles later in the day to commemorate the loss of nature.

Bhattacharjee maintained the ceremony was held in a low key manner keeping in mind the pandemic situation and Section 144 imposed in parts of the city.

"We come here every weekend on Sunday for a tree plantation drive as we want to transform the car shed area into a forest," said Tabrez Sayyed Ali environment activist and member Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).

Green activist, Zoru Bhathena stated that the state government now needs to give a serious thought to the ongoing coastal road project.

"The car shed was based on a fragment of land on the Aarey forest area, but the ongoing coastal road project is going to affect the city's entire shoreline and aqualife," Bhathena told FPJ.

"The government should give a thought to this as this project is going to cause sheer loss to our ecology" he added.

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Free Press Journal