Mumbai: Forest fires are on the rise, say Aarey locals

Updated: 23 December, 2018 09:40 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Urge Aarey office to initiate action against anti-social elements responsible for this

A forested patch that was recently set on fire
A forested patch that was recently set on fire

After a major fire broke out near Aarey Colony earlier this month, locals allege there have been further attempts to burn down the forest by anti-social elements. Residents and environment lovers are voicing their concern as they believe the rich biodiversity in the area is under threat from those with vested interests.

Aarey locals, who did not wish to be named, told mid-day that in last two weeks there has been an increase in forest fires. "We have been witnessing this post the massive blaze that had broken out on a private plot in Aarey. The Aarey CEO office has a security department and an officer, and the need of the hour is for them to increase the patrolling in the area and take strict action against those responsible for this," said a local. The areas that have been torched include the plot near New Zealand hostel, Aarey BMC school and Unit No. 18.

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There has been speculation that the slum mafia might be involved in this. "The upcoming development projects in Aarey pose a threat to the forest. But, equally dangerous are the mushrooming slums and shanties that are being illegally constructed. If timely action is not initiated by the Aarey CEO office, we will lose a huge chunk of forest cover," added another local. Despite repeated attempts, Aarey CEO Nathu Rathod was unavailable for comment.

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First Published: 23 December, 2018 07:41 IST

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