Uddhav Thackeray in, Aarey activists see light

Mumbai: Speculations are rife that Shiv Sena will first shift the controversial Metro (Colaba--Bandra--SEEPZ) car shed from Aarey to an alternative location once the coalition government (Congress-Nationalist Congress Party-Sena) comes in power.

According to sources, to teach a lesson to its friend turned foe Bharatiya Janata Party, Sena would scrap the Aarey Metro car shed as its first move. 

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who will be the next Chief Minister, had hinted at action against the "erring" Aarey officials in a press conference held earlier.

Environmentalists and citizens are now hoping that Uddhav will soon do what he hinted at. Zoru Bhathena, Save Aarey activist and a petitioner, stated, "We hope, he declares Aarey as a forest.

The reason: it's not just the Metro-III car shed that has been planned here, but several other projects have also been proposed, which include a 32-storey Metro Bhavan, slum rehabilitation buildings among others. Demarcation of Aarey as an eco-sensitive zone will remain protected.

It was not just the promise of Sena, but the Congress and NCP leaders also supported the Save Aarey movement. Since all the three parties have come together to form the government, declaring Aarey a jungle should not be a problem." 

Interestingly, after Devendra Fadnavis, the then Chief Minister, tendered his resignation on Tuesday over failure to go for floor test after the Supreme Court's verdict, the Save Aarey movement activist on Twitter started a poll campaign over Aarey to be declared a jungle by the Uddhav-led alliance government. Ruben Mascarenhas, activist and national joint secretary of Aam Admi Party (AAP), has been running this twitter campaign. 

Furthermore, it is believed that Sena, which is the ruling party in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), would be contesting the next municipal elections on the same Metro-III Aarey car shed plank to woo voters who opposed cutting of trees by the Metro authority under the supervision of the then CM Fadnavis-led government.

On the other hand, Sena may also push for its ambitious coastal road project which is stuck in legal hurdles and opposed by citizens over environmental concerns.

It is believed that Sena will try to convince citizens by explaining how it will make travelling seamless, apart from other benefits, once the project is executed.

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