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No tree will be cut for Thackeray memorial, says CM

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Uddhav says more trees will be planted at site in Aurangabad instead

Not a single tree will be felled at the site of the proposed memorial to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray in Aurangabad, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday.

Speaking on the concluding day of his tour of Marathwada, Mr. Thackeray said, “Let me make it clear that not a single tree will be cut in the [in the 17-acre Priyadarshini garden] where the memorial is to come up. This park has a variety of important tree species like eucalyptus … Instead, we shall be planting more trees like jambul and magnolia to enrich the biodiversity of this place,” said the CM, who visited the garden and surveyed the site of the memorial and its plans.

Last month, the garden became a hotbed of controversy after Amruta Fadnavis, the wife of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, tweeted about media reports that the memorial would necessitate the felling of 1,000-odd trees.

Priyadarshini garden, located in the heart of the city’s CIDCO area, is a popular ‘green zone’ for residents and home to several species of birds and rare insects. This habitat consists of more than 8,700 trees.

Ms. Fadnavis’s tweet triggered protests by local residents and environmental organisations, who vociferously opposed any tree-felling action and accused the Sena of “doublespeak” on environment.

The Sena had vehemently opposed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s decision to remove trees at Mumbai’s Aarey colony to make way for a Metro car shed. One of the first decisions Mr. Thackeray took on becoming Chief Minister was to halt work on the Metro car shed at Aarey.

Hence, the Sena, which controls the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, was accused of hypocrisy after reports of felling trees for the Thackeray memorial surfaced. This had prompted Sena leaders in the city, including former MP Chandrakant Khaire and Nandkumar Ghodele, to issue hasty assurances that Mr. Thackeray had instructed them that not a single tree was to be cut.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 8:24:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/no-tree-will-be-cut-for-thackeray-memorial-says-cm/article30538397.ece

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