Shinde government accused of exploiting Mumbai Metro 3 tree issue for votes

14 April,2024 05:21 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Ranjeet Jadhav

Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti said that it was nothing but absolute shamelessness of these people to claim environmental brownie points

Eknath Shinde

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, despite initially choosing Aarey Milk Colony for the Metro 3 car depot, is now using the issue of Metro 3 trees to gain votes. Shiv Sena MLC Ravindra Phatak, part of Shinde's faction, posted a picture claiming concern for trees and the environment, which has drawn criticism from green activists for its perceived double standards. Phatak, who previously aligned with Uddhav Thackeray, is now leveraging his position to support Shinde's agenda, despite prior allegiances.

Phatak is also the samparka pramukh of Palghar, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seats.

"Our rightful government, our government, which knows the interest of tree conservation...!" The text on the photo posted by Phatak states that of the 257 trees removed for the construction of Metro 3, 119 will be transplanted and geo-tagged," Phatak wrote on X.

Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti, which has been opposing the car shed at Aarey said that it is disgusting to see the Shinde government talk about environment conservation. He alleged that diligent citizens have exposed the lies of the government with concrete proof.

"The high court-appointed committee confirmed the failure to compensate for lost trees due to the Metro 3 project, which, despite its technological advancements, has devastated Mumbai's tree cover and Aarey forests. The actual count of trees chopped was misrepresented to the Supreme Court, and promises to restore trees outside Metro stations were ignored. The destruction, supported by the Shinde government, exposes their hypocrisy on conservation," Stalin said.

Stalin criticised their claim to environmental responsibility, highlighting the mishandling of excavated mud and continued deception over nine years.

Stalin added that it was nothing but absolute shamelessness of these people to claim environmental brownie points. "Ask them where the three lakh tonnes of mud that was excavated was disposed of. It was promised that it would be taken by sea in barges to distant places where landfilling was needed. This was to avoid air pollution in the city caused by the movement of dumpers carrying mud in the city. Every milligram of mud was carted in open dumpers throughout the city. Let these people not talk about the environment even remotely. They have misled the people every single day over the last nine years and they continue to do so even today," Stalin said.

What is also surprising is the fact that the Metro 3 underground alignment starts at Colaba and reaches Seepz via Bandra. The car shed for Metro 3 is coming up in Aarey colony.

After becoming CM, Uddhav Thackeray brought a stay on the construction of a car shed in the Aarey colony, as environmentalists and nature lovers believed that it would hurt the biodiversity of the area.

Thane-based Environmentalist Rohit Joshi said, "Politicians like Phatak exploit environmental concerns for political gain, revealing hypocrisy within their ranks. Using sensitive issues like the controversy over the Metro 3 car depot at Aarey Colony to win votes is unethical and disrespects genuine environmental activists. This double standard erodes public trust in political leaders and hinders efforts to address real environmental challenges."

Green Activist Zoru Bhathena said, " Metro 3 has been the biggest destroyer of Mumbai's scarce tree cover, forests, and open spaces. Despite grand promises to restore the tree cover and open spaces, they have failed. Miserably. It appears this claim is made by a politician who seems to have no clue about the reality of Mumbai Metro."

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Shiv Sena Eknath Shinde aarey colony save aarey mumbai metro mumbai metropolitan region development authority mumbai mumbai news
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