Mumbai: The country's beloved vintage 'vine' has gone out on a limb in support of trees. ‘Nightingale’ Lata Mangeshkar is chirping in support of the Save Aarey activists and her avian counterparts, objecting to the felling of over 2,700 trees.
"To cut down 2700 trees and invade the natural habitat for so many species would be a tragedy. I firmly oppose this move and I earnestly request the government to look into this matter and save the forest," she tweeted.
While she got over three thousand likes for this pious declaration, several unmelodious notes were struck by detractors, who were reminded of the time when she had allegedly threatened to leave town over a proposed flyover on Pedder Road, her residential address for decades.
In 2006, she had objected to the flyover construction, expressing concern that not only was the road narrow, it was in a proven seismological zone and drilling for the proposed flyover could shake the foundations of buildings in the area she has called home for decades.
Disgruntled Dipen Sheth wrote: "You also opposed a flyover at Haji Ali/Pedder Road some decades ago. Why are you anti-development? Why not demand that they should plant two to three times the trees they cut?!"
His sentiment was echoed by whoami: "I respect you immensely but do not support you on this. People are getting choked and dying due to pollution. And we need to take tough decisions to decongest our roads through metro and sea link road etc.
Please see the other side of the problem and you will support the government." Dhiraj Kumar also added his voice to the chorus, tweeting: "I agree with your comment but metro is needed because it runs on power and we can plant trees near about the stations."
However, Saurabh Chaube voiced his support for Mangeshkar, tweeting, "That is the job of authorities and they are paid for that by the hard working Mumbaikars; our target is to save Aarey, not to search for an alternative plot for the metro car shed."
JayJayWanti @Indus4valley had this to say: "Tai aadhi tumhi flyover bandhu dila naahit aata metro, zhaada zaaycha dukkh aahe pan metro hi hi garaz aahe (Tai, before, you objected to the flyover, now you're against the metro.
While it is sad trees will be axed, metro is badly needed)" But Twitter user Pooja agreed with the Melody Queen. "It takes years for a forest to grow, I don't think metro is so important, what is important is the drainage system of the city and bridges, continue the protest," she said.
There were others perched on the same branch of thought. Upendra Kumar panda said, "Bhagwan aap ko lambi aayu de mataji, humein metro nahin, jeene ke liye oxygen chahiye, hum sab aap ke saath hain (God bless you with a long life, Mataji.
We don't need metro but oxygen to live. We're all with you.)" Anushka Gupta said, "They should have planted double the amount of trees a year ago. Infrastructure is necessary but not at the cost of disturbing the natural resources.’’
Rajnish too agreed. "Trees have the right to be in Mumbai. We have to maintain our ecosystem at any cost, otherwise an unbalanced ecosystem will kill Mumbaikar, "he observed