Mumbai

Activists begin chipko movement to protect 3,500 trees in Aarey Colony

Green warrior: Citizens, including this young girl, joined activists in the chipko movement at Aarey Colony on Saturday.

Green warrior: Citizens, including this young girl, joined activists in the chipko movement at Aarey Colony on Saturday.  

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The trees will make way for a Mumbai Metro carshed; will await BMC Tree Authority nod, says MMRCL

Mumbai: Environmental activists have begun a chipko movement, in which protesters hug trees, to protect over 3,000 trees in Aarey Colony from being cut down to make way for a Mumbai Metro carshed.

Aarey Conservation Group members were joined by scores of people and school children in a peaceful protest on Saturday. They appealed to the government to reconsider its carshed decision in one of the city’s last green lungs. Stalin Dayanand, convener, NGO Vanashakti, said, “There are seven other places where the carshed can come up without destroying ecological balance, but the Metro Corporation officials are hell-bent on cutting 3,500 trees. They have already started excavation work, so we decided to start a chipko movement in Aarey Colony.

He added, “It’s not construction, but destruction which the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (MMRCL) is carrying out without getting permission from relevant agencies.The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has clearly said that the Metro Act can not be above the Environment Protection Act, but MMRC is brazenly violating the rules.”

Alleging that MMRC has submitted false affidavits to different agencies to be able to cut the trees, Mr. Dayanand said the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (MMRCL) had told the Bombay High Court that only 250 trees would be felled. “Then, it told the NGT that only 500 trees will be cut. Shockingly, here, on Ground Zero in Mumbai, it has come up with a tender to cut 3,500 trees.”

Noted lyricist Piyush Mishra, who too is batting for Aarey’s green cover, has come out with a music video to sensitise people and the government against cutting trees at Aarey. He said, “It’s high time something was done to save the city’s green tracts. We can breathe in Mumbai because of green tracts like Aarey, so it’s our responsibility to protect them from being cut in the name of development. In Western countries, people treat trees like god or a saviour; see what we are doing. Why don’t they build a carshed at another convenient place?”

Reacting to the developments, MMRC said there was no restraining order from the NGT on undertaking construction work at Aarey. It also said tree cutting activity has not begun as yet.

An MMRC spokesperson said, “Being a responsible government organisation, we always ensure that permission of MCGM’s Tree Authority, which is the competent authority to grant permission for tree cutting, is taken. We also reiterate that cutting [of trees] will not be initiated till we receive approval from the Tree Authority.”

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:19:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/activists-begin-chipko-movement-to-protect-3500-trees-in-aarey-colony/article19863256.ece

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