Amid lockdown, 'mafia' clears trees, builds hutments at Aarey Colony

Updated: Apr 01, 2020, 08:04 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

A nature lover records videos of the encroachment activities and inform mid-day; green activists demand police action

Earlier there were only three hutments, now over 100 have cropped up, says a nature lover
Earlier there were only three hutments, now over 100 have cropped up, says a nature lover

As the crowd vanished from the streets of Mumbai and the city police were deployed on lockdown bandobast, a 'mafia' became active in Aarey Colony, clearing trees to build hutments behind Oberoi International School. An alert Mumbaikar on Sunday informed mid-day about the illegal activities going on for the past one week.

A nature and wildlife lover, who stays close to Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road in Oberoi Splendor building facing Aarey Colony, was shocked to see the trees being felled to construct hutments and recorded videos of the encroachment activities.

"There is a need to protect the forest and the green cover, but what I have been seeing over the past week has really shocked me. Many trees have been cut down by some anti-social elements. It seems the officials have turned a blind eye to the illegal activities going on during the lockdown. Earlier, there were only four hutments, now over 100 have cropped up," the source said.

Green activists have demanded immediate police action. Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti and the member of Aarey Conservation Group said, "It's very difficult to believe that at the time of the lockdown when police have increased patrolling everywhere, they have not noticed the destruction and illegal encroachment underway at Aarey. The local police should take action against those responsible immediately".

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