Make environment a priority for all projects
While this is certainly music to the ears of citizens and environmentalists, it is also important that similar yardsticks are used for ongoing and future projects
A lot of green cheers went up on Sunday after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced the scrapping of the contentious Metro car shed at Aarey and said the project will come up at Kanjurmarg.
In a webcast, Thackeray said that the project will be shifted to the government land in Kanjurmarg, at no extra cost. The building at Aarey will be used for some purpose, it will not go waste, he said. He also made all the correct noises about biodiversity preservation, recognising that Mumbai has a forest in an urban setting and how the rights of tribals need to be upheld. While this is certainly music to the ears of citizens and environmentalists, it is also important that similar yardsticks are used for ongoing and future projects.
Saving Aarey should not be driven only by political considerations. Instead, we must see to it that we preserve trees as much as we can, ensure that their replantation works and always try to find viable alternatives making environment preservation a priority. We have the Coastal Road coming up, so that too should be undertaken with maximum consideration for the environment.
The Metro work has meant certain green patches have been affected. For instance, the making of an underground Metro station at Prabhadevi has necessitated the demolishing of an entire garden at Sayani Road. The Metro officials have promised that this will be rebuilt once the station is made. They should be held to that promise.
Saving the environment or striking that elusive balance between development and green spaces should not be politicised but looked through the wider prism of a city that desperately needs to maintain ecological equilibrium. Let saving Aarey, or any other green patch, not be mired in any agenda, and simply be about benefitting people tangibly and intangibly.
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