MoEF should intervene in Aarey car shed matter: Jairam Ramesh

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. File   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) should intervene in the Aarey car shed matter as it affected the environment at large, its former Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Tuesday.

The Car depot at Aarey for the underground Colaba to SEEPZ Metro Line 3 has seen stiff opposition from citizen groups and environmentalists as it would involve removing nearly 2,646 trees from a 31 hectare plot.

“A threat to Aarey is a threat to the environment everywhere. So, I think the Central government should intervene. Mr. Javadekar should exercise his authority. If it is an eco-sensitive zone, then the Central government has the authority,” Mr. Ramesh said. As Environment Minister, he intervened in many issues that did not fall strictly within the ambit of the Centre because it was affecting the environment, he noted.

The Aarey car shed was just the start and would open the door for other projects. “There are other options. It shouldn’t be ‘my way or the highway’. This is stubbornness. I would ask the government to stop being stubborn.” The issue was not created out of pressure from the NGOs but it was out of public sentiment, he said.

Mr. Ramesh criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘only talking about the environment and doing nothing on the ground.’ He commended the Shiv Sena and its chief Uddhav Thackeray for their stand opposing the construction of a car depot in Aarey Colony but also taunted them saying their ‘bark was worse than their bite’.

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“Making statements is not enough. They need to take the next step and convince their alliance partner that this will hurt the city,” he said.

On Monday, Mr. Thackeray stated that the car shed would have the same fate of Nanar refinery, which was moved out of Ratnagiri after protests from the Sena.

Mr. Ramesh stated that nobody was against the metro but that the development should be sustainable.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 7:11:53 AM |

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