Green warriors, tree authority must bat together

Updated: Jul 11, 2019, 10:59 IST | Team mid-day | Mumbai

Having a car shed at Aarey necessitated the felling of over 2,000 trees

Representational picture
Representational picture

This paper ran a front-page report about a fiery face-off between tree authority honchos and members of the tree authority committee and green activists. The latter were present in sizeable numbers at a public hearing. The hearing was about the building of a Metro car shed at Aarey Colony for the Metro III project. This was a public hearing after time was given to the people to file suggestions/objections earlier.

The public hearing saw the environmental warriors launch a full-scale attack on the panellists. Their contention was that they were not against the Metro but the car shed should come up at an alternative site. Having a car shed at Aarey necessitated the felling of over 2,000 trees. The panellists did not give them any answers going according to the book and stating that this was a hearing, they are not supposed to give answers right then.

If alternatives are viable, its important that the tree authority panel at least takes a look at them. We also discerned a trust deficit between the tree authority and people who were venting their ire at the officers. This does not bode well for the city, given that epithets like 'Tree Cutting Authority' were hurled at them. The authority should be looked at as a preserver and saviour of green. It needs to instill that confidence in people. One understands that there will be the inevitable tug-of-war between 'development' and environmental activists, but the authority must be seen as a body that does its utmost to keep the trees, and, boost planting them. Let us work towards that.

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