Mumbai

Aarey to lose 2,646 trees for Metro shed

For sustainable development: The Metro car shed proposal had received 82,000 objections.

For sustainable development: The Metro car shed proposal had received 82,000 objections.  

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TA passes proposal with eight votes; Congress corporators walk out; Sena expresses disappointment

Aarey colony will lose 2,646 trees to the Metro car shed. The Tree Authority (TA) on Thursday gave its approval to the proposal, with support from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Part (NCP) and nominated members, while the Congress staged a walkout. The Shiv Sena, which had been opposing the proposal, voted against it but was outnumbered. Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray posted a number of tweets, saying the decision showed the government’s stubbornness.

Work on the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro line is under way, but the proposal to build a car shed inside Aarey colony had been meeting with stiff resistance since it will require cutting of 2,232 trees and transplantation of 469. When the proposal was tabled before the TA earlier this month, the members had demanded a site visit, and later sent it back with several queries.

On Thursday, the administration tabled a fresh proposal before 16 members of the authority, with answers to the queries. According to it, the MMRCL would save 56 trees — 2,185 would be cut and 461 would be transplanted. During discussions, the Sena and Congress expressed their opposition to the project, and the two Congress corporators walked out soon after.

Of the remaining 14, six were Sena corporators, who opposed the proposal but the four members of the BJP and one of the NCP supported it. They were backed by the three nominated members, who were appointed to the TA since they are experts in the field of horticulture, and the proposal was passed with eight votes.

After the meeting, Sena leader Yashwant Jadhav said, “The experts were appointed to check cutting of trees. Then why did they support the proposal? Their appointment should be cancelled. We will move court.”

Mr. Thackery expressed his disappointment through Twitter. “The metro is a good thing, I use the existing one and will use the new one too. However whoever planned this green chopping in mumbai, obviously has no love for our future generations or our city. Has misled the CM on its environmental assessment report for Aarey site (sic),” he tweeted.

He said everyone wants sustainable development and when there’s an option to save the environment, especially a green area where leopards and other species roam free within a city, the government must save it. Mr. Thackeray said there were other options in this case and the government was just being stubborn. He also said he still had hope that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would do away with the misleading reports on Aarey and save the environment.

When asked why they allowed the trees to be removed, BJP leader Manoj Kotak said, “Metro is important for the development of the city. We will ensure the trees are transplanted carefully.”

Environmentalist Zoru Bhathena said, “This is disappointing. There is a 15-day period during which we can appeal to the HC and we will. The TA’s job was not to check utility of Metro. It was to decide on whether trees need to be removed. We had submitted all objections.” The proposal had received about 82,000 objections.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 11:00:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/aarey-to-lose-2646-trees-for-metro-shed/article29293798.ece

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