Mumbai Metro vs Aarey: Aaditya Thackeray your party betrayed us, say Activists
Activists left fuming after a letter giving official nod to a car depot workshop at Aarey Milk Colony goes viral on Twitter
It was in November last year that Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray had gone public with his decision to support to the Save Aarey Campaign by tweeting, "Of course, we have to be united. This is our city and our future. Thank you. Always together for Aarey." But now, his party has been left red-faced after a letter from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Bureau(MPCB) giving its consent for setting up a car depot workshop at Aarey, has gone viral.
The letter is significant because it is backed by the State Environment Department headed by Shiv Sena leader and Minister Ramdas Kadam. The construction of car depot in the green zone of Aarey Milk Colony requires more than 3,000 trees to be cut.
Sena earns ire
On May 3 this year, the MPCB wrote the letter to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) giving its nod for the establishment of car shed maintenance depot and workshop activity. On Saturday, the copy of the letter went viral on Twitter, with green activists and nature lovers slamming the Shiv Sena. Nature enthusiast Avlokita Shah tweeted, "Once upon a time.... there 'was' support announced all out in media that #AareyForest will be saved at every cost. The reality is Mr. RamdasKadam (#ShivSena) has given consent to build #Carshed thru MPCB @AUThackeray must stop the mockery N be ashamed as a youth representative."
In March, 2016, mid-day had reported on Shiv Sena's decision to fight its ally BJP over the green cause. Sena leader and state industry minister Subhash Desai had told the media the Sena had been in discussions with the state and was looking at alternative plots for the project.
What the letter says
A copy of the letter, which is in possession of mid-day, reads, "The consent to establish is granted for a period up to commissioning of the project for five years whichever is earlier." It further states, "The consent to establish is valid for the following activity: Metro line 3 crashed, maintenance depot and workshop activities (total plot area is 300,000 sq mt and built up area is 25,550 sq mt)."
Environmentalist Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti, who is also a member of Aarey Conservation Group tweeted, "@AUThackeray why has your minister betrayed the #SaveAarey effort. Mr Ramdas Kadam is the boss of Environment department. MPCB is under him. Sir, this is a complete betrayal of the promises made by you. How was this consent given? So you also support the Metro Yard in Aarey".
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